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2020’s Most Expensive Senate Seats

Levi Leidy
·5 min read
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Meg Kinnard/AP/Shutterstock (10963570a)Democratic U.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Meg Kinnard/AP/Shutterstock (10963570a)Democratic U.

If you?ve grown tired of hearing the names Biden and Trump tossed around like they?re on the repeat wash cycle (extra soiled), there?s good news: The presidential race isn?t the only one happening.

In fact, it may not even be the most important race.

The United States government is based on a system of checks and balances, designed so no single individual can have total power over the country. Sometimes, these ?checks and balances? render a president almost completely ineffectual; other times, they bolster them. One of the clearest examples of this has been the conservative-majority Senate. In 2016, the Senate blockaded President Barack Obama from appointing a new Supreme Court justice before he left office. In 2020, they helped President Donald Trump appoint one instead.

Whether Trump or Biden wins the presidency, the Senate holds tremendous influence over the next four years of American policy and legislation. And 7 of the 10 most expensive Senate races of all time are occurring in this moment ? right now.

Take a look at these record-breaking races and how much politicians are spending to win a seat for their party.

Last updated: Nov. 3, 2020

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nathan Posner/Shutterstock (10994788a)Senate candidate Jon Ossoff talks with media at a press conference outside of the Metropolitan Library voting precinct on election day, November 3rd, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nathan Posner/Shutterstock (10994788a)Senate candidate Jon Ossoff talks with media at a press conference outside of the Metropolitan Library voting precinct on election day, November 3rd, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Georgia: Jon Ossoff (D) vs. Sen. David Perdue (R)

In the swing state of Georgia, Democrat Jon Ossoff is challenging Republican Sen. David Perdue. This tight Senate race is the ninth-most expensive of all time, with total spending nearing $130 million.

In terms of ad spending, Ossoff has spent more than double his Republican counterpart; putting $25 million into campaign ads as opposed to Perdue?s $12 million. However, it should be noted that challengers are expected to spend more on ads than incumbents, seeing as the incumbent is already well known.

RealClearPolitics labels this race a toss-up, with Ossoff trending ahead in two polls and Perdue narrowly ahead in one.

Pictured: Challenger Jon Ossoff

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Elise Amendola/AP/Shutterstock (10994697b)Democratic candidate for U.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Elise Amendola/AP/Shutterstock (10994697b)Democratic candidate for U.

Maine: Sara Gideon (D) vs. Sen. Susan Collins (R)

In Maine, total campaign spending has reached $140 million between Democrat Sara Gideon and incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins ? making it the seventh-most expensive Senate race ever. Gideon has also outspent Collins on ads, putting up $25 million to Collins? $15 million.

According to RealClearPolitics, Gideon has consistently trended ahead of Collins in 14 separate polls. One poll in September by Quinnipiac gave her a lead of 12 points. However, she?s only ahead by 6 points in the most recent.

Pictured: Challenger Sara Gideon

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Meg Kinnard/AP/Shutterstock (10963570a)Democratic U.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Meg Kinnard/AP/Shutterstock (10963570a)Democratic U.

South Carolina: Jaime Harrison (D) vs. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R)

South Carolina?s Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has his hands full with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. Harrison shattered the Senate fundraising record in October, raising $57 million in the final quarter of the campaign alone.

In total, the two South Carolinians have spent $140 million on their campaigns; with Harrison shelling out $73 million in advertising to Graham?s $34 million.

Two recent election polls have Graham in the lead by 3 points and 6 points, which is down from previous polls but still concerning for fans of Harrison.

Pictured: Challenger Jaime Harrison

Related: 15 Most Memorable Moments of This Wild Election Year

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matthew Brown/AP/Shutterstock (10750588a)Montana Gov.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matthew Brown/AP/Shutterstock (10750588a)Montana Gov.

Montana: Steve Bullock (D) vs. Sen. Steve Daines (R)

Coming in at the fifth-most expensive Senate race is the Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock versus Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

Overall, $143 million has been spent, with Bullock infusing more cash into ads than Daines ($29 million versus $19 million). Polls are very mixed on this one. Bullock is ahead by 1 point in an October Montana State University poll and Daines is ahead by 3 points in a New York Times/Sienna poll from a similar time frame.

Pictured: Gov. Steve Bullock

Mandatory Credit: Photo by RICK D'ELIA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10991318e)Democrat Mark Kelly campaigns for a seat in the US Senate in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, 01 November, 2020.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by RICK D'ELIA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10991318e)Democrat Mark Kelly campaigns for a seat in the US Senate in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, 01 November, 2020.

Arizona: Mark Kelly (D) vs. Sen. Martha McSally (R)

In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly is taking on Republican Sen. Martha McSally ? another close swing-state race. The candidates have spent a total of $165 million, with Kelly directing $54 million to ad spending and McSally chipping in $24 million for ads.

RealClearPolitics is calling this one for Kelly by 5.7 points. The Democratic challenger has won six polls in the last week by fairly sizable margins.

Pictured: Challenger Mark Kelly

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Reynolds/AP/Shutterstock (10993017a)Sen.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Reynolds/AP/Shutterstock (10993017a)Sen.

Iowa: Theresa Greenfield (D) vs. Sen. Joni Ernst (R)

In the second-most expensive Senate race ever, Iowan Democrat Theresa Greenfield is looking to upset Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. Total campaign spending is at a shocking $195 million, with Greenfield contributing $37 million to ads and Ernst contributing just $11 million.

Despite the spending deficit, Ernst is trending slightly ahead in the polls by an average of 1.4 points. However, another recent poll by InsiderAdvantage had Greenfield ahead by 1, and with margins like that it?s really anyone?s race.

Pictured: Sen. Joni Ernst

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gerry Broome/AP/Shutterstock (10826400u)Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, left, and U.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gerry Broome/AP/Shutterstock (10826400u)Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, left, and U.

North Carolina: Cal Cunningham (D) vs. Sen. Thom Tillis (R)

The most expensive Senate race of all time is the faceoff between North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. North Carolina is considered one of the key swing states in the presidential election, so Americans will be watching this race closely.

Total campaign spending between the two candidates has reached a staggering $242 million ? $47 million more than the next-most expensive race. As far as ad spending goes, Cunningham has coughed up $28 million to Tillis? $12 million.

According to RealClearPolitics, Cunningham is up by an average of 2.6 points and has polled consistently ahead in the past week.

Pictured: Cal Cunningham (left) and Sen. Thom Tillis (right)

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 2020’s Most Expensive Senate Seats