State Elections

Published — October 16, 2014

Gubernatorial hopefuls outspend U.S. Senate candidates

Spending on state and federal elections creeps toward $1 billion


With less than three weeks to go until the Nov. 4 elections, roughly $817 million has already been spent on television ads for state-level office and the U.S. Senate. Here are some facts about the ad wars:

  • While the same number of governorships and U.S. Senate seats are up for election (36), spending on gubernatorial races has outpaced the Senate tab by well over $50 million. An estimated $379 million has been spent on governors’ race ads while $321 million has been spent on ads for U.S. Senate races.
  • The governors’ races in Florida and Illinois are more expensive than any race, federal or state, thus far. A big buy in the Senate race in North Carolina has bumped it to third place, surpassing the Pennsylvania governor’s contest.
  • Although the Florida governor’s race is the most expensive in the nation with more than $62 million put toward television ads, it would take another $35 million between now and the election to match the 2010 contest.
  • Both major party candidates in the Illinois governor’s race are the top two candidate spenders. Republican Bruce Rauner has spent nearly $9 million more on ads than Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, with Rauner’s total reaching $25 million.
  • Eight of the 10 candidates spending the most on TV ads are running for governor. The two exceptions are Senate candidates and incumbents Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who rank eighth and ninth, respectively.

Want to know more? Explore our findings with our ad trackers for state-level offices and the U.S. Senate.

Source: Center for Public Integrity analysis of preliminary data through Oct. 13 from Kantar Media/CMAG

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