The four candidates for governor and lieutenant governor raised
more than $6.7 million collectively by the end of August for their
race to public office, Oklahoma public documents show.
If that amount of money had been spent on a sports event - for
example, a grand prix race through Oklahoma City, which the City
Council turned down in August - the public would expect some sort of
economic impact, a return on investment in the form of jobs or new
Grand prix promoters at the time said the event would have had a
direct economic impact of about $25 million as spectators brought
money into the area to spend on food, merchandise and hotel rooms,
all of which require workers to support products and services, in
addition to other business opportunities.
The political campaign money in a gubernatorial race has a
similar effect, although it's rarely considered as such, party
leaders and political science experts said.
"Probably the lion's share of campaign money that is spent goes
to direct mail, so that affects printers and directly creates jobs"
said Kristopher Masterman, manager of operations for the state
Democratic Party. "Unlike a lot of more technical industries, when
the presses are running full time you need people to work with those
machines. And just from trying to get several different things
printed, I know they're all busy right now.
"And a significant amount of money also goes into polling. ...
There are people who have to call and conduct those polls,"
Masterman said. "These are more temporary jobs, but nonetheless in a
tough economy and if you've got no job at all, a temporary job that
pays the bills is better than none."
State Republican Party Executive Director and Chairman Matt
Pinnell agreed: "Printing companies do well - a lot of yard signs, a
lot of brochures and a lot of mail. So you have the people who print
your material and stuff it," he said.
"Obviously a lot of it goes to TV and buying television
advertising. Some TV company is producing the ad. It's big money and
a lot of business," he said.
Oklahoma City University political science professor Richard
Johnson said the economic impact is probably narrowly focused, with
money flowing through just a few key businesses such as television
stations or polling firms. The trickle-down effect of funds going
into those interests would depend on internal factors that are
difficult to track from the outside. …