When the history of the influence of money in the 2012 election is written, Arkansas may be an interesting case study. Despite the focus on the flood of money unleashed by the Citizens United decision on the presidential and congressional races, some of the more lasting results may be felt at the local level. There is a rule in political spending: the lower the category of interest a race holds for the voters, the more influence money can have. A voter considering a presidential or senate candidate will have multiple sources of information and may have a long history of regular voting at that level of the ballot. But what about as they move further down ballot? How many people know who their state legislator is, or their county supervisor, or their local judges? How many care?
As the Washington Post points writes today, the Koch brothers are spending heavily in Arkansas not to influence national elections, but to flip the legislature to handpicked Republicans who will owe them allegiance. The Koch brothers may have discovered that it is easier to buy lesser known but still hugely influential local elected officials than it is to rent the national ones.