Average cost of winning elections in the House and Senate since 1986 in 2012 dollars

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Spending on winning Senate races has increased 62% in 2012 dollars since 1986

The increase is more pronounced in the House, where winning a race there increased by 334%

Biggest increase is in outside groups, which went from $9 miilion in 1986 to $457 million in 2012

CNN  — 

Cory Booker raised an eye-popping $4.6 million over the past three months for his bid in the New Jersey special election for the U.S. Senate.

The Newark mayor’s cash haul that was announced Thursday is the latest example of the skyrocketing costs of winning election or re-election to Congress.

Last year, winning Senate candidates spent an average of $10.3 million, according to the latest edition of Vital Statistics on Congress, which was released this week. That’s a 62% increase, adjusted for inflation, since 1986. The report indicates that it took, on average, $1.6 million to win a House seat in 2012, a 344% increase since 1986.

That increase is dwarfed by spending of outside independent groups, especially following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. That ruling removed legal barriers preventing corporations and unions from spending unlimited sums on federal elections.

Senate insiders look outside as they run for re-election

Outside groups spent $457 million on Senate and House races in 2012, according to the report, compared to $9 million in 1986. In 1978, such groups spent only $303,000 to influence Senate and House elections.