What’s it cost to run for Congress?

Published 7:24 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Have you ever thought about running for Congress? Well, now’s your chance.

In a wide-open race, with nearly a dozen candidates already declared or filed to run, it’s going to be a crowded ballot.

For those filing to run, there’s one thing they have in common, despite disparate ideologies. Each of these candidates will have to cut a check to the State Board of Elections for a $1,740 filing fee.

That amounts to one percent of the annual salary for a newly elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives — Representatives and Senators get paid $174,000 per year.

In the state of North Carolina, state law dictates that the filing fee for a given office is one percent of the annual salary for that office.

Want to be governor? Roy Cooper makes $142,265 per year. That means the average Joe will have to fork over 1,422.65 if they want a shot at living in the Governor’s Mansion.

To run for a seat in the N.C. Senate or N.C. House of Representatives, where members earn a meager salary of $13,951 per year, it costs $139.51, still a good bit of cash for the average person.

For someone wanting to run for office, it does make some sense to have skin in the game. But $1,740?

A filing fee that high denies the average person a chance to run for office, and tells North Carolinians that they must have money to play the political game. If we want a fair playing field, maybe the State Board of Elections should start taking IOUs.