Political campaigns

How 13 states are helping pay for political campaigns

(NewsNation) – The 2022 election is expected to be the most expensive midterm in American history – with an estimate bringing the total to $16.7 billion spent on state and federal campaigns.

Raising all that money is time-consuming for candidates and can make the candidacy out of reach for people who lack resources or access to big donors.

But some states offer public campaign funding to candidates who meet certain conditions — usually raising a certain amount of small donations (some cities, like Seattle, also have their own public funding systems for municipal candidates).

The final result ? More Americans are participating in elections and trying to run for office.

Here’s how the 13 states that offer public funding for campaigns do it.


Arizona offers public campaign finance for all legislative and statewide offices.

You qualify for government funding by collecting $5 contributions from Arizona residents; the number varies depending on the office you are looking for. For example, you must collect 200 contributions of $5 to qualify for public funding to run for the legislature.


Connecticut Public Funding is open to all legislative offices and statewide.

You qualify for government funding by raising a minimum number of eligible contributions that add up to an overall required amount. These numbers vary by state office, but state representative candidates must raise $5,800 in contributions; at least 150 inhabitants of the municipalities in your district must contribute.


Florida’s public funding system is only available to candidates for statewide positions such as governor, lieutenant governor, and cabinet members.

Gubernatorial candidates must raise $150,000 in contributions before public funds are made available to them. Cabinet members must meet a lower threshold – $100,000.


Hawaii’s public funding system is available to a range of races, from those seeking governorship to mayoral candidates.

The minimum amount of money from eligible contributions that you must raise differs for each office. For the State House, you need to collect at least $1,500. The amount of public funding you receive, however, varies by district.


Maine’s public finance system is available to gubernatorial and legislative candidates.

Candidates must first secure an eligible number of $5 contributions — 60 for State House, for example — and then they will have access to public funds.


Maryland’s public funding system is only open to candidates for governor or lieutenant governor.

The Governor’s Note must raise at least 1,500 private contributions and a total of $120,000 during the qualifying period in order to qualify for public funds.


Massachusetts’ public funding system is only available to candidates in statewide elections.

The amount of eligible contributions varies by office, but candidates for governor and lieutenant governor must raise at least $125,000 before qualifying.


Michigan’s public finance system applies to only one office: that of governor.

Gubernatorial candidates can access public funding by raising at least $75,000 in eligible contributions.


Minnesota has public funding available for legislative and statewide candidates.

The amount of eligible money you must raise before accessing public funds varies by office, but State House candidates must raise at least $1,500.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s public finance system is restricted to gubernatorial candidates.

Campaigns must raise a certain amount of money to receive public funds. The qualification threshold for these applicants in 2021 was $490,000.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s public funding program is only open to a select few positions, such as the judiciary.

To receive public funding, applicants must meet a minimum number of qualified contributions and the amount raised. In the Second Judicial District, for example, the minimum number of eligible contributions is 400 and the minimum amount collected is $2,000.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s public funding system applies to statewide offices.

Gubernatorial candidates, for example, must raise a minimum of $259,600 from at least 250 people who donate at least $25 each in order to qualify for public funding.


Vermont’s public funding system is only open to gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates.

Gubernatorial candidates must raise at least $35,000 from at least 1,500 donors to be eligible for public funding.

West Virginia

West Virginia’s public funding system only applies to Supreme Court races.

Applicants must raise between 350 and 500 contributions of $100 or less to qualify for the program.