Ed Bender, from the National Institute on Money in State Politics was at HSC this morning to teach us how to use the tools on www.followthemoney.org. These free databases organize reported information about campaign contributions from across the country in an accessible manner.
Something you might observe if you are poking around the site:
In 2008, 7% of Florida's state elections were competitive (meaning, no candidate was unopposed or raised twice as much as his competitor). This is striking compared to states like Arizona, where 62% of races were competitive (and there is a robust public financing program.)
We will be posting the presentation on our website soon, but in the meantime, Follow the Money.