Sharron Angle's Employment Program

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When Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle announced last week that her campaign had raised $14 million in a quarter, even Republicans were amazed that a candidate could raise so much off of a challenge to the emblem of Democrats, Harry Reid.

But with the actual filings today, we know now that Angle's $14 million came at a cost.

Specifically: about $12 million. That's how much her campaign cost -- an unfathomable percentage. So Angle netted only $2 million, and as a consequence has the same amount of cash on hand that Harry Reid does for the final stretch. Reid raised much less, but spent as much as Angle did on ads -- $7 million -- and still has $4 million in the bank. Say what you will about Harry Reid, but he's one stingy guy and knows how to run a tight ship.

Republicans generally have higher cost-per-dollar expenses because they rely on direct mail, which is quite expensive. Still, I can't find any other candidate who raised this much and netted this little. How did this happen?

When Angle was putting together her "plan," consultants and whoever else sold her on something this expensive, which, of course, is in their interests too. Remember, Angle was not supposed to win the primary, and so the initial group of consultants she hired were probably prospecting for lesser-known Senate candidates like Angle. And then they hit the jackpot.

Not to say that her consultants did anything bad, but netting just two million from a $14 million haul is eyebrow-raising, as it should be. There are some external reasons why Angle might have had to spend so much money, and I suspect her campaign would point to the need to introduce her to Nevada voters (but, really, who didn't know her after all the free media she got after the primaries), the challenge of building a campaign in a state where the Republican Party is virtually non-existent (this is true, and there's not much evidence of an endogenous GOTV capacity), and other reasons, which I will pass along when I get the e-mail from them.

Angle reported today that she's raised since $3 million since the beginning of October.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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