Senate Roundup: How Much Did Your Midterm Vote for Senate Cost?

While Florida is on track to be the most expensive senate race this cycle, Montana and North Dakota have the highest cost per vote.

Senate Roundup: How Much Did Your Midterm Vote for Senate Cost?
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While the race to become the next senator to represent Florida is still ongoing and slated to be the most expensive Senate race this cycle, Montana and North Dakota are the sites of the most expensive vote in terms of election spending.

In Montana, a red state with a Democratic Senator that was in the crosshairs of Republicans, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and his Republican challenger, Matt Rosendale, spent a combined $21.3 million, with an additional $43.3 million in independent expenditures by outside groups.

While 7 other states throughout the country had more spending on Senate races, 492,500 votes were cast for U.S. Senate in Montana costing $129.26, according to Sludge’s analysis of campaign finance records collected by ProPublica, making it the most expensive midterm Senate race per vote. 

In neighboring North Dakota, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and the Republican challenger who defeated in her in last week’s midterm elections, Kevin Cramer, spent a combined $21.7 million in their bid to represent the Peace Garden State, according to data compiled by ProPublica. Outside groups, meanwhile, spent $17.7 million in independent expenditures on behalf of Heitkamp and Cramer, bringing up the total spending for the race to $39.5 million.

Roughly 325,000 North Dakotans voted for U.S. Senate, according to the North Dakota Secretary of the Senate, meaning each vote cost $121.58, according to Sludge’s analysis.

Meanwhile, New York had the lowest cost per vote among Senate races at just $2.35. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been rumored as a potential 2020 candidate, easily defeated Republican challenger Chele Farley by 1.8 million votes. While the candidates and outside groups spent nearly $13.6 million on the Senate race, nearly 5.8 million people voted for Senate in New York, according to the New York Board of Elections.

Zoom in or hover over a state on the map to see how much a vote cost in a certain state.

Further south, Florida is embroiled in a recount to decide who will become the next Senator and governor representing the Sunshine State. Candidates and outside groups have spent a combined $169.4 million on the Senate race, according to ProPublica. While the spending in Florida outpaces every other U.S. Senate race, roughly 8.2 million people voted for U.S. Senate, bringing the cost per vote to $20.70.

Nearly a week after Election Day, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner of Arizona’s Senate race, defeating Republican Rep. Martha McSally and flipping the seat into Democratic control for the first time in 24 years. Nearly $94 million was spent on the race, with 2.1 million voting on who would succeed retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, making the cost per vote $43.42.

Methodology: Sludge compiled spending data for every Senate race this cycle, using information available on ProPublica’s FEC Itemizer, which takes into account candidate spending and independent expenditures as of this week. Voting results came from each state’s Board of Elections, Secretary of State, or an equivalent agency, accessed between 11/12 and 11/13, and are considered unofficial, meaning that they might not capture the full vote tally and are subject to change. Not included in the map are the Senate Specials in Mississippi and Minnesota. The Senate Special in Mississippi cost $10.81 per vote, as of Monday morning, but the race between Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy has resulted in a run-off. The Senate Special in Minnesota to succeed Al Franken was $4.77 per vote.