By SIMON D. SCHUSTER
Michigan Campaign Finance Network
LANSING (Nov. 3, 2020) — $150 million in the presidential race. $143 million for the U.S. Senate. $40 million on U.S. House races. $15 million in contests for the state House.
In all, $375 million will be spent on advertising on television, cable and radio through Election Day, according to Advertising Analytics data analyzed by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
It’s more than the entire cost of the 2018 election, which totaled $324 million.
In 2020 alone, ads aired on broadcast television more than 400,000 times. That excludes cable and radio.
Even after the presidential primary in March, Democrats and allied organizations outspent their Republican counterparts by more $80 million. Issue groups, which can’t directly coordinate with candidates and often rely on dark money, outspent the candidates in races for the presidency and U.S. Senate. Democratic candidates for the U.S. House spent more than outside PACs, while Republican candidates were roughly equal with the PACs supporting their candidacies.
In the U.S. Senate race, outside groups dominated. They outspent the campaigns by more than $30 million and their role was central to the race.
It’ll be months before a more complete picture of the election’s total cost will be formed, as there are significant delay before disclosures are required for the hundreds of organizations that spent significant money in Michigan. Given this election has been held during a pandemic that limited options for voter outreach, it’s not yet clear if a disproportionate amount of money was spent on advertising relative to other years.
In case it wasn't already plain by this point — no other election is remotely comparable to this one. View a breakdown of the ad spending below: