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Why Are National Dollars In Local Elections?

People wait in line outside the Washington Park Library to cast their ballots on the first day of in-person early voting for the elections in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
People wait in line outside the Washington Park Library to cast their ballots on the first day of in-person early voting for the elections in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A lot of money is being spent on the 2020 presidential election. A lot.

But not all of that money is donated by voters in the races at hand or fundraised via local grassroots campaigns. In key races around the country, election spending isn’t even coming from inside the states in which the races are being run. And that outside money can have a big effect.

Voters in these key states have been bombarded recently by political ads on TV, the internet and even through text. This money pays for phone banks and further fundraising. And in the final weeks of the election, every little bit matters.

Where does this outside election spending come from? What happens to the money campaigns leave unspent?

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