A whopping $1.3 billion has been spent on ads and reservations in House races so far this election cycle, three times the sum spent in 2016, according to data from AdImpact, an ad tracking firm.
In 2016, Democratic and Republican candidates and outside groups spent a combined $443 million on ads in House races. That jumped to $1 billion in 2018, when Democratic candidates in particular saw a surge in fundraising from grassroots donors newly energized by former President Donald Trump’s election. In 2020, nearly $1.2 billion was spent on ads in House races.
The $1.3 billion spent so far for this election cycle could still grow with one week left until Election Day. So far, Democrats have the edge over Republicans, spending $702 million on ads to the GOP’s $615 million, due in part to strong fundraising from vulnerable Democratic incumbents.
The race for Michigan’s 7th District between Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin and GOP state Sen. Tom Barrett is the country’s most expensive House race so far, per AdImpact data. Democrats have spent a combined $20.8 million on ads in the district, while Republicans have spent a combined $12.9 million.
Slotkin has outspent Barrett on the airwaves by tenfold, spending $8 million on ads to Barrett’s $774,000.
The ads in this race have been emblematic of competitive races across the country. Slotkin has stressed her bipartisan credentials, touting her work to lower prescription drug prices.
And Republicans have worked to tie Slotkin to President Joe Biden and rising costs.