West, Berman, Bloomfield Biggest Spenders to Lose House Races

Photograph by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Allen West during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee February 10, 2012 in Washington.

Representative Allen West, a Tea-Party fav and Florida Republican who just this week conceded that he lost his bid for a second term, achieved one milestone this election year: The biggest-spending loser in House races.

West spent at least $13.8 million, according to the latest numbers from the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, in his battle against Democrat Chris Murphy in a district on Florida’s east coast. Murphy, who spent at least $3.4 million, edged West by less than 1 percent of the vote.

Another Tea Party darling, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, spent at least $12.1 million and apparently needed the heavy investment –she won a fourth term by a margin of 1.2 percent against Democrat Jim Graves. He spent a mere $1.5 million or so.

Others joining West as big spenders for naught included independent Bill Bloomfield, who laid out at least $5.7 million — virtually all of it from his own pocket — in an unsuccessful effort to keep Democrat Henry Waxman from winning a 20th House term. Waxman spent at least $1.8 million as he faced a harder-than-usual challenge. Routinely re-elected with vote totals exceeding 60 percent — and often much higher — Waxman won this year with 53 percent to Bloomfield’s 47 percent.

Democrat Howard Berman — Waxman’spolitical marching mate and friend since their college days at UCLA — didn’t fare as well, despite ladling out at least $5.4 million in campaign funds. Berman lost his bid for a 16th term to  fellow House Democrat Brad Sherman in the revised California system that allows for members of the same party to end up running against one another in the general election. Sherman spent at least $4.9 million in garnering 60 percent of the vote to Berman’s 40 percent.

Republican Joe Coors, a great grandson of the founder of the brewery bearing the family name, spent at least $4.2 million — including more $3 million of his own — in a failed attempt to oust Democratic incumbent Ed Perlmutter in a Colorado House district. Perlmutter spent at least $2.7 million in winning a fourth term.

The biggest spender among all House candidates was one with no opposition, Speaker John Boehner. The Ohio Republican used most of his $20 million in expenditures to help fellow party members in their races.

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