An Inside Look At Congressional Fundraising

Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker yesterday tweeted snippets he overheard from an unnamed congressman making fundraising calls from a public space. The tweets provide a small look into the grueling demands that are a reality for many first-term members of Congress, as well as members in vulnerable seats. As Lizza notes, raising campaign money involves a lot of repetition, a lot of voicemails, and a lot of empathy for donors.

It also requires a lot of time. Incoming lawmakers are instructed to spend upwards of four hours per day raising money, which is time taken away from the legislative responsibilities of being an elected official. Many members will explain, however, that fundraising is a sacrifice that makes the rest of their work possible. Indeed, winning a congressional seat is not cheap. According to data compiled by MapLight, successful House members in the 2012 cycle raised an average of $1,689,580, while winning Senators, on average, raised $10,476,451.