NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA) — Northwest Arkansas candidates in state House races spent more than $1 million in the 2018 general election.
Campaign finance reports from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office show some candidates raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2018.
The most expensive race was district 84.
Republican Charlie Collins spent $242,734.66. Democrat Denise Garner raised $151,946.94. Both have a combined total of more than $394,000.
Other top spenders include district 93 candidates. Republican Jim Dotson and Democrat Gayatri Agnew spent a total of $196,713.
Districts 87 and 89 followed.
University of Arkansas Political Science Professor Dr. Andrew Dowdle says he was surprised to see this amount of money spent, but there were several hot-button issues on both sides that made this election cycle an important one.
“Gun control, abortion, education, a lot of this ends up representing the fact that you’ve had a lot of population growth in the area, economic development. So you have people in this area that have a lot of money to contribute,” Dowdle said.
Dowdle says most studies show that there is a threshold to reach before a candidate becomes competitive, but once that is reached money doesn’t sway a race.
How you spend money in campaigns these days has changed, too. He says social media is one cost-effective tool to target voters.
Some of these figures could also be attributed to the number of candidates.
There were eight more candidates running in 2018 than in 2016.