Senate Republicans have killed a Democratic-written constitutional amendment aimed at big spending in election campaigns by corporations, wealthy individuals and candidates themselves.

The defeat was not a surprise. The measure never had a chance to survive in Congress.

Democrats view the issue as one that can appeal to people who resent the impact big contributors can have on elections. It played into their monthslong effort to stigmatize David and Charles Koch, the wealthy brothers who have donated millions to oppose Democratic candidates.

Republicans said the amendment would stifle free speech by clamping limits on political contributions.

Thursday's vote was 54-42 for the measure -- short of the 60 votes needed to keep the amendments alive.