WASHINGTON -- The price of admission to the House increasingly exceeds $1 million -- with the number of candidates raising seven figures in 2000 almost doubling from the last time Americans picked a president.
At least 194 House candidates reported raising more than $1 million in 2000, up from 108 in 1996, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.
More than one-third of the 435 congressional races last month -- 151 in all -- featured at least one candidate with at least $1 million to spend.
The number of House candidates raising at least $2 million increased even more dramatically, from eight in 1996 to 11 in 1998 to 34 in 2000.
"We are further raising the threshold for how much money it will take to run a viable congressional campaign," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
"We are reducing the pool of candidates who are willing to run in these elections, and anyone looking at a race in the future is going to have to plan to spend much more time raising money than candidates did even two or three elections ago," Corrado said.
This year has seen the most expensive House race in history, the $11.1 million raised to fund the contest between incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Rogan of California and his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Adam Schiff. Rogan raised $6.8 million, but lost to Schiff, who raised $4.3 million.
Rogan wasn't even the champion fund-raiser. In West Virginia, Democratic nominee Jim Humphreys raised $7 million -- most of it from his own pocket -- but lost to Republican Shelley Moore Capito, who took in $1.4 million.
Carolyn Machado, who raises funds for Republican congressional candidates, says her clients were forced to get more money to answer advertisements by political parties and outside interest groups. As a result, her candidates were raising money until the final days of the campaign.
"We had to respond to a lot of the negative advertising that was out there," Machado said.
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