The amount of money being spent on political campaigns in 2020 is insane.
Big races have attracted national attention – like Republican Sen. Thom Tillis against Democrat Cal Cunningham, which has already become the most expensive Senate race ever. The two campaigns combined had spent over $233 million by the middle of October.
But what is more shocking is how much money is being spent on down ballot races like the North Carolina state House and Senate.
NC House District 59 Republican Rep. Jon Hardister is being challenged by Democrat Nicole Quick in what is considered a competitive district. The political rating on the district is R+2, which means it leans Republican but not by much. Before the last redistricting, District 59 was considered an R+10, which was a safe Republican district. According to Politics North Carolina, the combined total spent in the 2018 NC House District 59 race was less than $100,000.
Because NC House District 59 is now considered a competitive district this year, both parties have been pouring money into this race. District 59 includes parts of eastern Greensboro and forms kind of a backward C around Greensboro going from High Point at the southwestern tip of the district to Summerfield at the northwestern tip and stretching out to the eastern border of Guilford County.
Hardister said that when the final figures come in, which will be after the election, he expects the amount spent on the race will be over $1.5 million and possibly as high as $2 million.
Hardister said that his campaign, including money from the Republican Party, will be over $500,000 and he estimates that Quick’s campaign will spend more than $1 million.
So that’s at least $1.5 million, which is more than a tenfold increase over the amount spent in 2018.
At this point figures are largely estimates because of how complicated campaign finance has become. There is a limit of $5,400 that a person can donate directly to a candidate for an election, but there is no limit on how much money can be given to a political party.
The political parties can raise and spend without any limits and both parties are raising and spending at unprecedented rates in this election cycle.
There are about seven or eight highly competitive state House races and the spending on all of those by both parties is rising to new levels. Much of the money, of course, is coming from out-of-state donors and groups.