Richmond Times-Dispatch: Scott Blackburn column: Wave election possible because of Virginia’s campaign finance laws (In the News)

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Scott Blackburn column: Wave election possible because of Virginia’s campaign finance laws

By Scott Blackburn

That wave elections happen is welcome news for democracy. Incumbent legislators have many advantages over challengers, particularly those without a political pedigree. The only way many new faces get a chance in politics is on the back of a political groundswell.

But how many newcomers get to “ride the wave” depends greatly on how easy or hard it is to run a campaign. Luckily for candidates in Virginia, the state has some of the most pro-free speech campaign laws in the country.

Like just 10 other states, Virginia has no limit on how much individuals may donate to a candidate’s campaign…

In every seat that flipped parties in the election, the candidate who won received a contribution that would have been prohibited as too large under federal campaign finance rules…

Ironically, now the wave of newcomers becomes the incumbents… 

More importantly, they will have the ability to reshape campaign rules for the future.

Let’s hope that they don’t tilt those rules in their own favor. That they are good stewards of democracy. That they remember that campaigning is hard, that campaigns are expensive, and that the goal of the law should be to make it as easy as possible for the future outsider to get into politics. 

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.