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Political spending in presidential and congressional races projected to hit nearly $11 billion, shattering records

This year's political spending to elect a president and Congress is on pace to hit nearly $11 billion, smashing all previous records, according to a new esti...

Posted: Oct 1, 2020 1:37 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 4:15 PM

This year's political spending to elect a president and Congress is on pace to hit nearly $11 billion, smashing all previous records, according to a new estimate by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

That far exceeds the $6.5 billion that candidates, political committees and outside groups spent to influence presidential and congressional elections four years ago.

The 2020 election 'is going to absolutely crush anything we've ever seen -- or imagined -- before,' Sheila Krumholz, the center's executive director, said in a statement. 'The unanswered question is whether this will be the new normal for future elections.'

Visit CNN's Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race

The presence of two free-spending billionaires in the Democratic presidential primary -- former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and California hedge-fund founder Tom Steyer -- along with a wave of small-dollar contributions helped drive spending to new highs.

The center's estimate of $10.8 billion in overall spending is based on trends it has studied from past elections, but its researchers say an 11th hour gusher of campaign money could send the final total even higher. There already are signs of increased enthusiasm among Democratic donors as Election Day draws closer.

ActBlue, the online fundraising platform for liberal donors, said Monday it had raised $300 million for Democratic candidates and causes since Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on September 18.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, reported collecting nearly $10 million in a three-hour window Tuesday night as he and President Donald Trump faced off in their first debate. Biden's campaign went on to collect $21.5 million online on Wednesday -- the best fundraising day of the 2020 race, a campaign aide confirmed to CNN.

The coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession it has triggered aren't an 'ideal environment for political fundraising,' the center's research director Sarah Bryner noted. 'But donors across the political spectrum ... have more than stepped up.'

Small-dollar donors -- individuals giving $200 or less -- have accounted for 22% of all the money flowing to federal committees so far, up from 14% four years ago.

And Democrats have had a clear advantage in this election cycle. Even when spending from Steyer and Bloomberg were removed from the picture, Democrats accounted for 54% of total spending to Republicans' 39%, the researchers found.

The group expects spending in the presidential race alone to near $5.2 billion -- easily topping the previous record of $2.8 billion in 2008, when adjusted for inflation.

The predicted price tag for this year's battle to control Congress: about $5.6 billion, roughly on par with the record-setting spending in the 2018 midterm elections that saw Democratic seize control of the US House of Representatives.

Other findings:

  • Big donors also have influence. The top 100 donors have donated $756 million, or 8% of all giving. Candidate spending on their own campaigns account 18%. Bloomberg, who spent more than $1 billion of his fortune on his short-lived presidential bid, accounted for 12% of the total raised to date.
  • Women donors are opening their wallets, contributing nearly $1.7 billion this cycle -- up from $1.3 billion in 2016 when Democrat Hillary Clinton sought to become the first woman elected president.
  • The pandemic has shaped how candidates spend donors' money. Spending on travel and staging events is down, and more money is flowing to advertising.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304023

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin641421113
Ramsey27059502
Anoka21526225
Dakota21268190
Washington13529113
Stearns13524108
St. Louis8433108
Scott820154
Wright746139
Olmsted653534
Sherburne570941
Clay483956
Carver455913
Blue Earth405214
Rice403136
Kandiyohi396821
Crow Wing353431
Nobles304929
Chisago304410
Otter Tail300522
Benton293348
Winona273730
Mower257423
Douglas250735
Polk248923
Morrison228029
Lyon213411
Beltrami211917
McLeod205011
Becker199815
Goodhue196728
Steele19137
Itasca185523
Isanti184917
Todd178413
Carlton177715
Nicollet158725
Freeborn15125
Mille Lacs149931
Le Sueur144911
Cass138610
Waseca137811
Brown136415
Pine13138
Meeker12398
Roseau11454
Hubbard111924
Martin111220
Wabasha10301
Redwood91619
Chippewa8527
Dodge8380
Cottonwood8333
Watonwan8334
Renville83124
Wadena7736
Sibley7724
Rock7569
Aitkin75529
Pipestone71018
Houston6854
Fillmore6770
Yellow Medicine63311
Pennington6277
Kanabec59613
Murray5783
Swift5758
Faribault5422
Pope5281
Stevens5063
Clearwater5058
Jackson4841
Marshall4758
Lake4066
Koochiching3855
Wilkin3715
Unassigned36759
Lac qui Parle3613
Lincoln3511
Norman3417
Big Stone3072
Mahnomen2904
Grant2726
Kittson2138
Red Lake2053
Traverse1461
Lake of the Woods951
Cook660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 225897

Reported Deaths: 2345
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33451334
Linn14206164
Scott1116385
Black Hawk10849134
Woodbury10323124
Johnson948636
Dubuque918291
Story677621
Dallas633657
Pottawattamie624570
Sioux369125
Webster357833
Cerro Gordo351544
Marshall347846
Clinton327540
Buena Vista304114
Des Moines287920
Muscatine286468
Warren279611
Plymouth274242
Wapello255071
Jones229813
Jasper217443
Marion204320
Lee202217
Carroll197322
Bremer194212
Henry18227
Crawford174316
Benton169519
Tama153840
Jackson144313
Delaware143221
Washington140214
Dickinson138210
Boone136311
Mahaska126727
Wright12336
Clay11714
Buchanan116410
Hardin115010
Page11294
Clayton11105
Hamilton11059
Cedar107413
Harrison106729
Calhoun10617
Kossuth10566
Floyd104116
Mills10407
Fayette103310
Lyon10268
Butler10116
Poweshiek98913
Winneshiek96212
Iowa94612
Winnebago91723
Hancock8607
Louisa85816
Sac8578
Grundy85611
Chickasaw8494
Cherokee8374
Cass80823
Allamakee79911
Mitchell7884
Appanoose78710
Humboldt7695
Union7676
Shelby76211
Emmet76024
Guthrie75215
Franklin73521
Jefferson7112
Madison6804
Unassigned6620
Palo Alto6514
Keokuk5967
Pocahontas5574
Howard5529
Greene5220
Osceola5211
Ida48713
Clarke4824
Taylor4643
Montgomery46211
Davis4619
Monroe44312
Adair4408
Monona4332
Fremont3573
Van Buren3555
Worth3550
Lucas3236
Decatur3160
Wayne2987
Audubon2952
Ringgold2112
Adams1692
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