Candidates spend $5 billion in 2018

Lindsay Butela, North Campus Staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Campaign spending for the 2018 midterm elections proved to be the highest in history, totaling over $5 billion. In comparison, the 2016 presidential and congressional races combined totaled $6.8 billion, with $4 billion spent on the congressional races alone.

Democrats outspent republicans for the first time in 10 years, the candidates spending $1 billion compared to $720 million for Republicans. Democrats raised more than $1.3 billion from individual donors, while the amount sits around $1 billion for Republicans.

Democratic candidates raised large masses of funds through small donors. Republicans, however, received the most from outside spending, totaling $343 million compared to $248 million for Democrats. Outside groups spent more than $628 million, while the number sat at $421 million in 2014.

The election for the Senate seat in Florida between Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) broke the record for most expensive Senate contest in American history in terms of combined candidate and outside spending. The two candidates raised over $79 million. With $43 million spent by outside groups, the cost totals over $113 million.

However, the bigger spender did not always come out victorious. In the highly publicized Texas senate race between Ted Cruz (R) and Beto O’Rourke (D), Cruz was re-elected by the narrow margin of 50.9% to 48.3%. O’Rourke’s campaign raised $70.4 million since he announced his candidacy in March of 2017, while Cruz has only raised $40 million since 2013. This campaign ended up breaking the record for most expensive congressional election in terms of candidate spending.

Pennsylvania was not immune to the expense of this year’s election. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the District One House race in Pennsylvania, where republican Brian Fitzpatrick defeated democrat Scott Wallace, ranks seventh for money raised and spent, with over $17 million raised and over $15 million spent.

While 2019 may hold a few off-year elections, the next major party decisions will take place in 2020.