The Always-Rising Cost of Congressional Campaigns

House members must raise money not only for their own campaigns, but their party as well.

A Congressional decision will keep subsidized Stafford loan interest rates at 3.4 percent for one more year.
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And outspoken Tea Party freshman, Florida Rep. Allen West, has also solicited millions. In 2012, West has raised almost $10 million, 95 percent of it from individual donors.

The number is especially surprising considering West's newbie status.

"People are tired of being manipulated and lied to by their elected officials," says West's campaign manager Tim Edson. "Americans want someone who answers their questions forthrightly and doesn't shy away from tackling big issues, regardless of how controversial. That is what Congressman West does and that is why thousands are willing to put their hard earned dollars on the line to support him."

Most of the money that will be poured into the 2012 election will flow in only a few of the key congressional races.

In Connecticut's fifth district, a late and competitive August primary has led to exploding costs. The race between is one of the five most expensive in the country, with most of the competitors raising more than $1 million each in preparation for the primary.

New York Rep. Kathleen Hochul, who was elected in a special election to replace Rep. Christopher Lee in 2011, is also engaged in one of the most expensive races in the country, as she has raised $3.2 million in an effort to protect herself in one of New York's most vulnerable Democratic districts.

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