You almost can’t get away from them.

There is at least one on nearly every block, and sometimes nearly one in every yard.

You see them on many pages of this newspaper, hear them on the radio, and may very well see one when you are filing your fingernails.

Political advertising. It comes “with the territory” in a political season such as the one we are in the midst of in advance of the Nov. 7 general election.

In an effort to stay competitive, candidates take advantage of most every angle for name recognition and visibility. And they have to do so. It’s almost “expected” of them.

But it’s not just the yard signs, road signs, printed ads, and even emery boards with a message to the voters that affect the cost of a campaign. There’s printing, postage, gas, phone calls, photography and more to be paid for.

Charity auctions, benefit dinners, community events and the like are all places on most every candidate’s datebook. There are dinners to buy, donations to be made and cakes to be bought at bazaars and the like.

And with early voting now underway, it’s likely to spike during the final days of the election as candidates do everything they can to get their name in front of voters as many times as possible before they use the touch screen to make their political choices.

What is the “cost of politics” in Navarro County? It’s not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. Most any of the 14 candidates in the seven contested county races will agree.

In an informal and un-scientific poll conducted Tuesday by the Daily Sun, the total tab for spending by all of the candidates combined exceeds $100,000 for the 2006 political season. And most of those surveyed agreed that their figures were “most likely conservative estimates” of what they’ll actually end up spending by the time the election has come and gone.

The Daily Sun obtained estimates of campaign expenditures from 11 of the 14 candidates involved in contested races in Navarro County. Those not included in the informal survey were not able to be reached for their responses on Tuesday.

The 11 candidates contacted estimated they’ll spend a combined total of approximately $121,600. Those figures in most cases include expenses for the primary race earlier in the year, and “guess-timates” of expenses yet to be incurred in the final two weeks of the campaign.

Two of the candidates reported campaign expense estimates in excess of $20,000. Five more said they expected to spend less than $10,000 by the time Nov. 7 arrives. Four others reported total spending will likely be between $10,000 and $15,000.

If you really enjoy math, that works out to an “average” cost of $11,054.55 per candidate. The “mean” cost of a campaign in Navarro County among those who took part in the poll is $10,000, according to information provided to the Daily Sun.

Using historical figures from the last non-presidential election, voter turnout for Nov. 7 should be around 40 percent of Navarro County’s 28,300 registered voters.

A 40 percent turnout would equal 11,320 votes cast in the election.

That figures out to an average expenditure of $10.74 per vote expected to be cast.

That is a lot of emery boards.

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Bob Belcher may be contacted via e-mail at belcher@corsicanadailysun.com





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