Midterm War Chests Gush Over
Corporations and unions—which will end up spending the most money as a result of the ruling and already have large war chests—will have to wait too in order to see what they get for their efforts.
"Honestly, businesses take risks when they get involved in this type of campaigning," says Panagopoulos. "They have consumers and shareholders to answer to and we saw what happened to Target for giving money to a pro-business group supporting the GOP candidate for governor in Minnesota who wants to ban same sex marriage. That set off a large protest and Target got set back on its heels."
Tale of Two War Chests
For some candidates, no matter what the 'Citizens United' ruling said or how many dinners are served, they may never end up with enough money to make an election close—let alone win.
In the GOP-heavy district, the 63 year old Frelinghuysen hasa campaign fund of more than $724,000 according to the Center for Responsible Politics—and is expected to win again.
That hasn't stopped Herbert, who says he has just $20,000 in his war chest. But getting even that amount of money has forced Herbert to spend most of his time asking for funds—something that took getting used to.
"At first, doing fundraising was like pulling teeth, and not my favorite thing to do," says Herbert, an army vet who's taking his second shot at public office after losing a state assembly run. "But I've learned to love it. It does give you a chance to make your case to people. And I expect to raise another $10,000 to $15,000 to add to the money I have by election time."
Herbert, who is married and has three children, makes fundraising phone calls six nights a week, and attends as many fundraising events as he can organize—while getting little cash from the state and national arms of the Democratic party.
With so much effort needed to raise money, Herbert believes there's a better way to run for office.
"If we said to each congressional candidate you can spend only about $500,000 on your race and cap the spending, we could stop fundraising and focus on issues," says Herbert, who has a small campaign staff of non-paid volunteers. "It would give people a chance to be competitive. We could make candidates more efficient, more policy driven. But I don't expect that to happen anytime soon."