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Cost of US midterm election surpasses staggering $5 billion

This year’s midterm election cycle is slated to become the most expensive campaign ever in the history of the US.

Published: November 9, 2018, 7:33 am


    The Center for Responsive Politics projected that more than $5 billion will be spent during the 2018 election, making it the costliest congressional election cycle by far.

    “We expected to see the numbers climb, as they typically do, but the astonishing spike in campaign donations is a solid indicator of the intensity driving this year’s campaigns,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, told

    Democrats have raised more than $1.3 billion from individual donors, also more than Republicans who raised just under $1 billion. Democratic challengers have also managed to raise considerable funding through masses of small donors.

    Comparing historical spending growth data from the third quarter on, CRP’s model projects the total amount spent in the 2018 election will reach approximately $5.2 billion.

    CRP estimates that Democrats will spend nearly $300 million more than Republicans — $2.5 billion to $2.2 billion. If current trends continue, Blue (Democrats) will outspend Red (Republicans) for the first time in 10 years.

    With just over $4 billion spent for House and Senate candidates in total, the 2016 election was the most expensive congressional election. When adjusted for inflation, only two congressional election cycles have surpassed the $4 billion mark — 2016 and 2010.

    Money spent by candidates, parties, committees, PACs and outside groups, for the purpose of the election, came to  $3.7 billion in 2018.

    Democratic candidates have disbursed vastly more than Republicans, having payed out more than $1 billion compared to only $720 million by Republicans.

    Outside spending is also projected to be the highest-ever for a midterm election. More than $628 million has been spent by outside groups so far, compared to $421 million at this point in 2014.

    Republicans are leading in the outside race, having benefited from approximately $343 million in outside spending compared to $248 million for Democrats.

    CRP says it will update and identify campaign finance trends, when new data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) comes in.

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