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The 2010 election will be the most expensive midterm contest ever in the United States, with spending expected to top $4 billion by Election Day, a Washington research group said Wednesday.
The Center for Responsive Politics reported that parties, candidates and outside groups will have spent about $1 billion more than in 2006, when the previous non-presidential record was set.
"We knew this election could make spending history, but the rate of growth is stunning," the center's executive director, Sheila Krumholz, said in a statement. "This kind of money in 2010 makes the 2000 presidential election -- hardly a distant memory -- look like a bargain at $3.1 billion."
Nearly $5.3 billion was spent in the 2008 presidential cycle, making it the most expensive election overall.
Krumholz points out that tens of millions of dollars in outside money flooded the election landscape this year, following sweeping changes in fundraising disclosure laws.
Republicans have taken greatest advantage of the new rules, with a number of conservative groups popping up to push GOP candidates in House and Senate races.
House Republicans have raised $502 million, compared to the Democrats' $461.5 million, according to the center. In Senate races, Republicans are out-raising Democrats $400 million to $347 million.
Read the center's election-year money report here.
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