The most expensive midterms in history

A study by the organization OpenSecrets forecasts election spending to exceed $16.7 billion.

The 2022 midterms will be the most expensive in history. According to a study by OpenSecrets, election spending is expected to exceed $16.7 billion. The investment by federal candidates projects to be 8.9 billion while state fundraising is expected to be $7.8 billion. The 2018 elections held the previous record for total midterm election spending, which was about $14 billion.

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of OpenSecrets, analyzed the numbers: "No other midterm election has seen as much money at the state and federal levels as the 2022 elections. We’re seeing record-breaking totals spent on elections up and down the ballot."

Higher Democratic federal revenues, higher Republican spending

In terms of fundraising, the Democratic Party has raised more money than the Republican Party. However, the Conservatives have spent more ($4,267,261) than their rivals ($3,877,797) on election campaigns. The figures are actually slightly lower than the organization's initial projection, which was $9.3 billion for federal elections. According to Sarah Bryner, director of research and strategy at OpenSecrets, explained:

Aggressive fundraising in early 2021 and competitive Republican primaries contributed to the record-smashing totals we saw earlier this year, but as 2022 wears on we are seeing candidates report more pedestrian hauls. This could be caused by anything from donor fatigue to financial pressures caused by inflation, and we have yet to see whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of the tapering off of the wild fundraising we’ve seen in the last four years.

Tightest Senate races the most expensive

The closest races are the ones that have cost the most money. Five of the 10 most expensive races are those labeled by the Cook Political Center as a "toss up." They are the Senate races in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin. These are also the five campaigns that have attracted the largest number of contributions from outside groups, which have focused their investment on candidates who may be decisive in the final balance of power in Congress.

Topping the ranking is the very tight race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, with spending just over $209.9 million. This race is followed by Raphael Warnock (D) versus Herschel Walker (R) in Georgia at $140.7 million. Third on the spending podium is the Senate race in Arizona, where Mark Kelly (D) faces Blake Masters (R) with $111.7 million invested.

Republicans raise more in state races

As for state elections, OpenSecrets estimates, with data collected through Oct. 24, that total fundraising by state candidates, parties and ballot committees will reach $7.8 billion this election. This represents an increase of 5% from the previous cycle and a new record for spending. Most of this money went to state candidates and party committees, who are projected to raise $6.4 billion in 2022. In this case, it is the Republican Party that has raised the most funds: $3.3 billion compared to the $3 billion raised for the Democratic Party. The remaining funds went to third-party candidates.

In the last month, projections for fundraising by gubernatorial candidates increased by $100 million. These races are now expected to have expended $1.7 billion by Election Day. Republican hopefuls have secured 57% of the funds, to 42% for Democrats and the remaining 1% for nonpartisans.

Attorney general races saw just about equal spending by both major parties. The Republican candidates raised about $80 million, while the Democrats raised about $79 million. In total, more than $161 million were raised for these elections, including by independents. On the other hand, Democratic state secretary of state hopefuls raised $31.8 million, well ahead of the conservative $23.3 million.