Money in Politics | New Hampshire Public Radio

Money in Politics

N.H.'s Civic Health Could Use a Boost

Jul 30, 2015
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As hosts of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Granite Staters often claim a reputation for political sophistication and civic engagement. But a new report finds that relatively few residents are politically involved and, when Election Day rolls around, they are more likely to accept the status quo and stay home rather than cast a ballot.  

When it comes to 2016 presidential campaign spending in New Hampshire, there’s one clear winner so far: The state Democratic Party. 

Roughly 30 percent of total candidate spending in New Hampshire so far this year has gone to the state party, and it came as a single, $100,000 expense: Hillary Clinton’s purchase of the party’s so-called "voter file." 

NHPR's recent interactive map showing how Granite Staters are donating to the 2016 presidential candidates is a unique visual guide to campaign fundraising.

On first glance, a couple of obvious geographic partisan disparities jump out. For instance, Republican donors are heavily concentrated in southern Hillsborough County and Rockingham County. There's also a pocket of Republican donors in the Lakes Region.

Nearly two thirds of the contributions from New Hampshire residents to presidential candidates since January went to Democrats, with Hillary Clinton collecting more from Granite Staters than all the Republicans combined.

At campaign events, house parties and town hall meetings across the state, presidential contenders are being met by potential voters who want to know what they plan to do about the role of money in politics.

And the candidates aren’t shying away from the question.

Democrats have taken aim at Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that struck down limits on independent expenditures by corporations and unions.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

If you’re hoping to follow the money in the 2016 presidential primary race, you’ve got a tough task. The fundraising tools available to candidates and their supporters are perhaps more complicated now than in any previous campaign. You've got your political actions committees (or PACs), your super PACs, your exploratory committees, your run-of-the-mill candidate committees, and countless other groups throwing their 2 (billion) cents into the 2016 presidential race.

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