This year’s midterms in the United States are slated to become the most expensive in the history of the nation, accounting for over $16.7 billion in spending. 

OpenSecrets, the campaign finance watchdog, released the whopping figure as part of its final spending analysis for the cycle, which included spending in both federal and state races.

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

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The enormous spending budget assigned by each state toward the midterm battle might be directly proportionate to what is at stake – For Democrats, a chance to hold on to their power over the US Congress. And for Republicans, a chance to snatch the control away from the liberals in both the House as well as the Senate

5 most expensive races

Meanwhile, nearly $1.3 billion has been spent on the top five Senate races of 2022, spanning across the primary and general elections. 

At the very top sits the Pennsylvania Senate race, where Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz are going head to head. According to the findings of OpenSecrets, nearly $375 million has been spent on the race this cycle. 

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Incidentally, Pennsylvania was also the most expensive Senate race of the 2016 cycle. At the time, Republican Pat Toomey was running for reelection. Around $179 million was spent at that time on that race. 

Take a look at some of the other races in the top five that follow close behind Pennsylvania in terms of total spending: 

  1. Georgia: $271,351,786        
  2. Arizona: $234,577,515        
  3. Wisconsin: $205,791,615
  4. Ohio: $202,117,075   

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Who are some of the big spenders?

When it comes to spending big, some of the leading groups that influence federal elections through outside spending, are the Republican political action committees. 

Such groups have spent a reported $1.9 billion, blowing past the 2018 midterm outside spending record of $1.6 billion.

One of the biggest examples is the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It has poured over $205 million into the midterms, while the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is a hybrid PAC supported by House GOP leaders, has spent more than $188 million.