$2.5 billion spent nationally on state campaigns

National Institute on Money in State Politics

Financing a political campaign reached a new high when candidates running for state offices in 2009–2010 raised $2.5 billion, surpassing the $2.2 billion record set during the comparable 2005–2006 elections.

The Institute has just released two reports documenting the record-breaking amounts raised by candidates, as well as an in-depth analysis of the money raised for and against ballot measures in 2009 and 2010. And, for the first time, the Institute explored all this fundraising in the context of a decade of state campaign finance data.

Chief discoveries from An Overview of Campaign Finances, 2009–2010 Elections include:

  • $3.8 billion was raised around state elections.
  • Candidates raised $2.5 billion to campaign for state offices. Nearly half of that $2.5 billion (46 percent) was raised by just 100 candidates—77 of whom were running for governor or lieutenant governor.
  • State political parties and legislative caucuses raised $627.1 million.
  • Lawmakers not up for reelection raised $103.3 million.
  • The candidates themselves made up the largest group of donors.
  • Republicans and Democrats were neck and neck in fundraising.
  • The average senate race cost $111,156; the average house race cost $56,142.

The Institute has now collected a decade of data for all 50 states, putting the recent elections in a broader perspective:

  • Candidates for state offices across the country raised $9.5 billion during the 10-year period 2001 through 2010.
  • Candidates were their own biggest donors, providing $1.3 billion to fund their own campaigns, followed by political parties’ $854.0 million given to candidates.
  • State Republican and Democratic political parties raised $2.1 billion from 2001 through 2010, split almost evenly.We also dove into the diverse ballot measures put to voters around the country, such as gambling, gay and lesbian rights, property taxes, and medical marijuana. 2009–2010 Ballot Measure Overview finds that committees supporting and opposing ballot measures raised $131.4 million in 2009 and $395.1 million in 2010. While impressive, the money raised around the 2010 measures fell far short of the millions raised around highly contentious measures voted on in 20062007, and 2008.