Graphic shows rising costs of U.S. elections between 2000 and 2020.


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By Duncan Mil

November 2, 2020 - The total cost of this year’s U.S. election, including presidential and congressional races, will near $14 billion, more than the combined price of the last two election cycles, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

The CRP calculates that the 2020 presidential election -- slated for November 3 -- will cost over $6.63 billion alone. That’s up from around $2.39 billion in the last election cycle. At the same time, donations made to the race for congressional seats will top $7.25 billion, up from $4.12 billion in 2016.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be the first candidate in history to raise $1 billion from donors. His campaign had brought in a record-breaking $938 million by October 14, while President Donald Trump raised $596 million.

“Donors poured record amounts of money into the 2018 midterms, and 2020 appears to be a continuation of that trend -- but magnified,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the CRP.

In 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on independent campaign spending by corporations, labour unions and individuals were unconstitutional.

Known as Citizen United, the ruling allowed unlimited outside donations to political campaigns, as long as the spending -- often in the form of TV ads -- is done independently of any candidate. The finding paved the way for deep-pocketed “political action committees” -- so-called Super Pacs.

In October alone, outside spending by super PACs and other big-money groups totalled nearly $1.2 billion. These groups are spending far more to boost Biden than help Trump, further aiding the Democrats cash-flush campaign.

“Ten years ago, a billion-dollar presidential candidate would have been difficult to imagine. This cycle, we’re likely to see two,” Krumholz added.

PUBLISHED: 02/11/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images