The midterm elections happening Tuesday are the most expensive congressional elections in U.S. history, with campaign spending trackers estimating a total of $5.2 billion to be spent this cycle. Democrats are projected to spend about $300 million more than Republicans.
Democrats have a fair shot of reclaiming the House for the first time since 2010 — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has already publicly predicted that her party will win — and are attempting to stave off possible gains in the Senate from Republicans. Major U.S. political figures, including Sen. Ted Cruz, are facing fierce (and pricey) contests all over the country.
These 10 election races (five in the House, five in the Senate) have gone through the most cash, according to the Center for Respective Politics, which tracks election spending. This includes spending by both candidates and outside groups.
Money spent: $181,056,442
Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott — vacating a hotly contested seat as he attempts to win an election to the U.S. Senate — has spent $66.3 million (the most of any candidate) as Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson has spent $25.1 million. Nelson has a slight edge, according to the New York Times’ Upshot. Outside groups have spent $89.6 million in the election.
Money spent: $118,810,380
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a prominent Democrat, is currently leading her race by 3 points against Republican challenger Josh Hawley, the state’s attorney general. McCaskill has also drastically outspent Hawley, putting up more than $33 million to ensure that she keeps her seat. Outside groups have put up almost $77 million.
Money spent: $107,440,692
Democrat Beto O’Rourke, currently serving as a representative for Texas in the House, has raised a stunning amount of money — over $69 million — more than any other candidate in U.S. history and spent $59 million of that as he attempts to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke has obtained a great deal of national attention during the race, and a recent Change Research poll indicates that the two Texans are in a dead heat. Cruz has spent almost $34 million.
Money spent: $104,241,757
Incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, has spent $13.8 million against his challenger, Republican Mike Braun, who has $14.7 million. Outside groups have poured in a staggering $68 million to influence the election.
Money spent: $104,220,475
1. Georgia District 06
Money spent: $80,337,644
Republican incumbent Karen Handel has spent almost $8 million in the election while her Democratic challenger, Lucy Bath, has spent $1.2 million. Outside spending came in at about $33 million, with the remaining amount coming from other candidates. The New York Times gives Bath the slight edge in the contest. This money includes funds spent by Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who lost during a special election to Handel in the most expensive House race in history. Ossoff spent more than $30 million.
2. California District 39
Money spent: $34.55 million
Gil Cisneros, a Democrat, has spent about $10.5 million in his bid for a seat in the House. His Republican opponent has spent about $2.16 million. The New York Times’ Upshot gives Cisneros a 1 point lead. Outside groups spent almost $14 million.
3. California District 48
Money spent: $32.76 million
Republican incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has spent $2.2 million and is about 1 point behind his Democrat challenger, Harley Rouda, in an Upshot poll. Rouda has spent more than $6 million. Outside spenders have put about $20 million.
4. Washington District 08
Money spent: $30.26 million
The New York Times gives Democrat Kim Schrier a 3-point edge in the election against Republican Dino Rossi. Schrier spent about $5.4 million as compared to Rossi’s $3.9 million. Outside spending groups put up almost $19 million.
5. New York District 19
Money spent: $29.25 million
Republican incumbent John Faso has spent $3 million in the New York House election, and his challenger, Democrat Antonio Delgado, has spent a little more than $7 million. The rest of the money comes from outside spenders and other candidates. Delgado is up by 1 point a day ahead of the election, according to a new Siena poll.
Cover image: Residents of Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, North Carolina make their way to cast their vote at precinct #2 on November 6, 2018. - Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump's controversial presidency, with control of Congress at stake. About three quarters of the 50 states in the east and center of the country were already voting as polls began opening at 6:00 am (1100 GMT) for the day-long ballot. (Photo by Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)