WASHINGTON — The 2018 midterm elections have already become the most expensive non-presidential elections in U.S. history, and there are still a few more weeks to spend.
- More than $5 billion raised during the 2018 midterms
- Expert: Florida one of the hottest, most contested races
- Next financial reporting deadline is October 25
- RELATED: Scott Pours Another $18M into Senate Campaign War Chest, Records Show
More than $5 billion has been raised at this point going to federal, state and local campaigns, and races in the Sunshine State are a big part of those numbers.
“Florida is one of the hottest races in the country. It’s one of the most contested races in the country," said Dave Levinthal with the Center for Public Integrity.
The evidence can be found in the latest campaign finance report. The two candidates raised a combined $79 million. Gov. Rick Scott has spent almost three times as much as Sen. Bill Nelson, shelling out $18 million of his own money in the last three months alone.
“You can spend your money any which way you want to, you can hire a staff, you can pretty much tailor your own campaign and not be dependent on the whims of donors," Levinthal said.
The governor, who's estimated worth is estimated to be more than $232 million, has now pumped more than $38 million into his campaign since entering the race in April. It's a battle tested strategy he's tapped into twice before, but experts say this time around, it may not work.
“If you have a whole lot of money that you’re pumping into your own political race, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to win," Levinthal explained. "In fact, that statistics show that it’s often times more likely that you lose opposed to win when you’re running at the federal level.”
In addition, outside groups have already spent $43 million in the Florida Senate Race, fueling waves of television commercials, stacks of campaign mailers and other support in an attempt to influence voters. Nelson continues to be the biggest beneficiary of that cash.
“It’s important in politics to make a good first impression, it’s also important in politics to make a great final impression and that’s what you see so often in tight races like this," he said.
Senator Nelson is entering the final stretch of the race with more campaign cash on hand. He has $8.6 million in the bank compared to Scott's $2 million. But, the governor's personal contributions may continue.
The next financial reporting deadline is October 25.