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Richmonders react to state and local campaign costs

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) — As the campaign season winds down, the cost of the election is beginning to add up.

According to the Federal Election Commission and the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) both presidential campaigns are surpassing the one billion dollar mark in total campaign spending. 

The FEC reports that since April 2012 and through October 17, 2012 Governor Tim Kaine has spent $18,624,299 dollars on this campaign while Governor George Allen has spent $11,296,509 dollars. 

On the local level, VPAP reports that in the 1st District City Council race — between Bruce Tyler and John Baliles — the candidates have spent $47,994 dollars and $49,859 respectively.

“That’s a lot of money, I mean wow,” Daisy Smallwood, a Richmond Resident said.
“That could be going to fix schools – there is a lot of hungry people out there,” Smallwood said.

What do campaigns spend the money on? Everything from photo shoots to polls.

Rep. Eric Cantor spent $30,000 dollars on a photo shoot in March while his opponent Wayne Powell spent $16,000 dollars on a poll in June.

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” Dr. Bob Holsworth, a CBS 6 Political Analyst said.

Holsworth says this is the most expensive election in American history and it is unlikely any party will push for drastic campaign finance laws after the election because the justice system has ruled. 

“The courts have said time and time again that various forms of expenditures on behalf of issues or on behalf of candidates is an expression of free speech and it would be unamerican to restrict free speech,” Holsworth said. 

To check out how much money your candidate has spent this cycle visit https://www.fec.gov/ and http://www.vpap.org/