South Carolinians worried about outside money gumming up their congressional races in 2016 can rest easy.
A Federal Election Commission reports on House and Senate contest independent expenditures, also known as outside money, flowing into each state indicates that South Carolina politics has pretty much been left alone this year. Outside money is money from “super-political action committees” (Super PACS) or national party committees. But while Super PAC spending across the United States totals up to a record-shattering $1.4 billion in this campaign, the amount spent thus far in South Carolina is about $175,000.
Breaking the money in the races down even further, the Federal Election Commission and the OpenSecrets.org website that tracks political money, indicate that almost all of the little that has trickled into South Carolina has gone to support incumbent U.S. Senator Tim Scott, who isn’t up for re-election this year. In fact, most of the $151,000 that came in to support Scott came from dozens of donations — some for a couple bucks, others for more than $10,000 — from the Virgin Islands Republican Party. The money makes up a small piece of Scott’s campaign contributions, which total about $5.9 million.
After the Senate race, it appears only U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy in the 4th Congressional District received outside support, and the FEC puts his outside money total at $22,145. For perspective, the FEC reports that Gowdy’s campaign has received a total of about $1.5 million from non-outside money sources, most of that in individual contributions.
The FEC reports an additional $2,000 that wasn’t donated to any particular house race. The FEC records don’t yet count money that might arrive in the last few days of the campaign.
The amount of money flowing into South Carolina pales in comparison to the outside money pouring into most states, though it’s more than the $0 that went into six states (the Dakotas, Idaho, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island).
On the other hand, North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race has attracted more than $58 million (most of it in opposition to one candidate or the other). The Senate race in Georgia has attracted $1.5 million. The incredibly hot race in Pennsylvania has attracted $134 million, and Nevada’s Senate race has attracted $94 million.