Tracking the money: First Congressional District candidates

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - At almost four billion dollars, this election is the most expensive midterm in history, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The two candidates for the first congressional district of South Carolina have raised millions of dollars to further their campaigns.

Through the third quarter of the year, Republican Katie Arrington raised $1,184,303, and Democrat Joe Cunningham raised $1,644,941.

The money came from thousands of individual donations, according to the Federal Election Commission.

“Candidates need money to get their message out to be able to get on television and to be able to hold rallies,” College of Charleston Political Science Department Chair Gibbs Knotts said.

Political Action Committees, or PACs, contributed about $250,000 towards Arrington’s campaign.

PACs from both Century Aluminum and Boeing gave money to the candidate, according to Federal Election Commission receipts.

Cunningham has made his refusal to accept PAC money a campaign focal point.

Arrington also contributed more than $366,000 to her own campaign. Cunningham did not self-finance any of his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission receipts.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports that both candidates received about 75 percent of their total donations from within South Carolina.

Despite that figure, a recent WalletHub survey concluded that South Carolina is one of the least politically engaged states. The report states that South Carolinians donate the least in political contributions.

Knotts says there are many ways to participate in a campaign, aside from giving a sum of money to the candidate.

“For other people, it's knocking on doors or volunteering. For other people, it's putting a sign in your yard,” he said. “It could be as simple as talking to people in your family and friends and trying to bring them over to your political side.”

According to Federal Election Commission filings, Arrington raised an additional $201,359 and Cunningham raised an additional $154,725 in the weeks following the close of the third quarter.

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