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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Outside Spending Pours Into House Races

Late spending on Congressional races from outside groups is nothing new, but the combination of redistricting and the proliferation of “super PACs” has helped to drive a recent explosion of money into competitive House districts around the nation.

In some cases, races that had seen little activity now find themselves flooded with advertisements, while others have had by a steady increase. In New Hampshire's First District, for example, Representative Frank Guinta, a Republican, is trying to hold off a challenge from the woman he ousted in 2010, the Democrat Carol Shea-Porter. After a few relatively quiet weeks in early September, interest groups and national party committees spent nearly $2 million through Oct. 21 trying to influence voters. Most of the money was spent in the past two weeks.

Contrast that with California's Seventh District, another rematch of a 2010 race won by the Republican incumbent, Representative Daniel E. Lungren, in which a super PAC played a prominent role. The Democrat Ami Bera has benefited from more than $3.8 million in steady outside spending since Labor Day, making this contest one of the most expensive in the nation.

Using a selection of races rated either as “Tossup” or “Leaning Republican” by The Times, we've illustrated the flow of outside money since September with an interactive graphic.

- View the Graphic