The Open Secrets research organization released their spending report for the just-ended 2022 election cycle, and the total midterm campaign expenditures reached an aggregate total of over $8.9 billion, including all candidates and outside organizations.
Though the aggregate number is large, and the highest ever for a midterm cycle, it is $7.52 billion less than was spent in the 2020 election cycle. The biggest difference, of course, was the presidential campaign. Therefore, it becomes notable that 39.6% of the entire 2020 political expenditures were tied to the presidential campaign.
From the $3.6 billion that candidates for the House and Senate raised during the 2022 election cycle, approximately 13% came from political action committees. This means the overwhelming majority of campaign money is raised from individuals within the legal contribution limits.
The most prolific fundraising set of candidates came in the Georgia Senate race, where over $215 million was raised from all candidates in both the primary and general election. The leading fundraiser, by a very wide margin, was the incumbent Senator, Raphael Warnock (D), who attracted over $150 million of that total. This compares to $58 million that his Republican general election opponent, Herschel Walker*, obtained. Though overwhelmed by the Warnock dollar total, the Walker fundraising number is still the highest for any Republican candidate in the 2022 cycle, including incumbents.
The top five Senate races in terms of expenditures were Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and Ohio. Despite winning only three of these five contests, the Democratic candidate outspent the Republican in each situation.
In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio* (R) was outspent by $30 million, but still managed a victory margin of just under 17 percentage points. Ohio’s J.D. Vance* (R) raised $15 million in comparison to Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D) $56 million but posted a 53-47% winning margin.
Another spending disparity arose in North Carolina. There, winning candidate Ted Budd* (R) was outraised $38 million to $14 million but scored a 50.5 – 47.3% win. In fact, in the top ten Senate races in terms of total receipts, in only one did the Republican outraise the Democrat (South Carolina: Sen. Tim Scott* $51.3 million; St. Rep. Krystle Matthews $135,000), yet the GOP contenders won five of the ten campaigns. In the Ohio and North Carolina situations, however, outside spending helped the GOP candidates close the financial advantage gap.
In the top ten most expensive House races, six were non-competitive in the general election. The race reporting the highest fundraising numbers was Georgia’s 14th District where Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Rome) won a decisive 66-34% victory but was outraised by $4 million. The total dollar amount obtained by all CD-14 candidates exceeded $31 million.
As would be expected, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy* (R-CA), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Minority Whip Steve Scalise* (R-LA), in that order, were also among the top ten most expensive races, though none were in a competitive re-election situation. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Dan Crenshaw* (R-TX) also were among the top ten fundraisers, and they, too, were in the non-competitive category.
The most competitive of the expensive contests were the races of Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA-47; $28.3 million raised from all candidates; $25.3 from Rep. Porter), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-3; $16.2 million raised from all candidates; $7.6 million from Rep. Boebert), Abigail Spanberger* (D-VA-7; $15.4 million raised from all candidates; $8.95 million from Rep. Spanberger), and Henry Cuellar* (D-TX-28; $15.05 million raised from all candidates; $4.6 million from Rep. Cuellar). In each of these latter cases, the leading money raiser was successfully re-elected.
In the Senate races, Democrats had a $954 million to $731 million advantage in overall candidate fundraising. Democrats saw this money raised from 220 Senate candidates, while Republicans featured an aggregate candidate field of 303 political contenders. In the House, Democrats also had an aggregate fundraising advantage, but a much smaller $982 million to $940.5 million edge. The GOP also had substantially more candidates than the Democrats, 1,696 as compared to 1,315, meaning their total per contender was much less than their counterparts.
One stat not included is of former President Donald Trump’s America First PAC. The entity raised well over $200 million, but only approximately $15 million went to helping candidates, though the donors were contributing under the premise of supporting the contenders. This is a sizable amount of money that would have helped balance the financial scales between the two parties and needs to be included in the overall fundraising discussion.
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