To the surprise of no one, OpenSecrets.org is reporting that the Tillis-Cunningham Senate race is the most expensive Senate race of all time. As of today, the web site says all parties spent a combined $287,653,020 on the race. Candidates spent $67 million. Outside spending accounted for $220.6 million
The next closest race was the Ernst-Greenfield Senate race in Iowa which logged $241.2 million in spending
According to data reported in the October 14 campaign finance report, Thom Tillis raised $21.4 million and had spent $18.4 million and had about $3.4 million on hand.
Likewise, Cal Cunningham had raised $46.7 million and spent $45.9 million. Cunningham had less than a million ($886,000) on hand the last few weeks of the election.
Though these numbers don’t include the last few weeks before the election, the early numbers indicate Cunningham outspent Tillis 2 to 1.
It’s hard for most people – including veteran campaign folks – to wrap their arms around the amounts of money being spent. Would Cunningham have won if his moral lapses had not been exposed? Who knows? My guess is Cunningham’s public failings had some impact. Exactly how much, we can only speculate.
For now, NC claims the crown of most expansive Senate race. It’s a crown that we probably won’t have for long. Most expect the two Georgia special Senate elections in January which will likely determine control of the US Senate, will easily eclipse the North Carolina totals.