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Eye On Olympia

Checks and balances…

Ten million bucks. That's the minimum price tag for most U.S. Senate seats, according to a new report from a University of Washington political research team.

Among other things, the researchers concluded that "it is no longer possible, in any state, to mount a credible quest for a Senate seat with a war chest of less than $3 million."

Increasingly, Senate candidates must buy television ad time -- the largest and fastest-growing element of campaign spending, according to UW assistant professor of communications Philip Howard.

In a medium-sized state like Washington in 2006, aspiring senators will have to raise at least $13 million, Howard's group concluded.

And take note, state GOP: the researchers calculated that ousting an incumbent costs almost twice as much as staying in office.

The report and accompanying spreadsheets by students Teresa Causin and Mychelle Miller are online here .

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