Raleigh, N.C. — On Monday, we looked at how costly North Carolina's U.S. Senate campaign was per registered voter in North Carolina and elsewhere.
Now, we can bring you a similar number: how much the Senate campaign cost per vote actually cast.
The answer: $38.48, give or take once provisional ballots are tallied up.
As with Monday's figure, this number comes with significant caveats. The Center for Responsive Politics keeps a running tally of all spending reported to the Federal Elections Commission. As of Monday, the CRP has documented $111 million in spending on the North Carolina race, nearly $30 million from the candidates themselves. The rest came from outside groups – nonprofits, political groups and others that have had to report their spending.
That $111 million is a floor, not a ceiling. The candidates have yet to report some of their spending, and some spending by outside nonprofit groups falls outside of reporting requirements. So, the total spending on the race is almost certainly millions of dollars more than what the CRP can document.
By using CRP data on spending and election returns from Tuesday, we can look at the cost per vote cast in the 12 most competitive campaigns as rated by The Cook Political Report.
Alaska, a state with a relatively small population where it is costly to campaign, is once again the outlier on our list, with $253.81 spent per vote cast. As with the cost per registered voter figure, New Hampshire is No. 2, with $106.20 spent on the Senate campaign per vote cast.
Of course, some of that advertising went for naught. In North Carolina, more than 25,000 voters who cast a ballot on Tuesday did not make a choice in the U.S. Senate race.
U.S. Senate campaign spending
|State||Votes Cast for Senate||Est. Cost of Campaign||Cost per Senate vote|
Sources: Campaign spending data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Combined spending includes both money spent by candidates as well as money spent by outside interest groups. Vote totals reported by the Associated Press and state elections officials.