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The $4m Capitol fundraising binge

Almost $4 million in political contributions washed through the state Capitol since January, far more cash than lawmakers reaped during a similar period last election season, according to new campaign-finance reports.

More than a quarter of this year's money flooded campaign coffers in the five days before the March 3 start of the legislative session -- the cutoff for fundraising to avoid the perception of vote-buying by special interests.

Add in political groups and politicians who aren't bound by the fundraising ban, and the total contributions closely connected to the Capitol stand at $11 million for the most recent campaign reporting period from Jan. 1 to March 31.

During this campaign reporting period, 108 lawmakers in the Capitol are running for office. They raised a total of $3.9 million. That's an average of $36,000 per candidate -- in a state where the yearly median income for a two-person household is $33,000.

During a similar period in the 2007-2008 election cycle, 88 lawmakers raised $1.6 million, an average of almost $19,000 per lawmaker.

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