The 2018 election cost Republican Mia Love a whopping $42.07 per vote in her unsuccessful bid to win re-election this year. Her Democratic opponent, Ben McAdams spent about half that in his upset win.
Love’s campaign spent about $5.64 million this year to McAdams’ $3.22 million during the 2018 election cycle. McAdams won by a slim 694-vote margin. That eye-popping spend may raise some questions about whether her campaign spent money as efficiently as it could during the race, especially given the razor-thin margin of victory for McAdams.
However, that’s not out of line compared to what her campaign spent per-vote in previous elections:
In 2016, Love spent $37.13 per vote in her successful rematch against Doug Owens.
In 2014, Love spent $68.86 per vote in her win over Democrat Doug Owens
In her narrow 2012 loss to Democrat Jim Matheson, Love spent a paltry $1.99 per vote.
Love and McAdams were far and away the biggest per-vote spenders during the 2018 midterm races in Utah. No other candidates came anywhere close.
Curiously, United Utah Party candidate Eric Eliason had the third-highest per-vote spend among Utah’s congressional candidates, dropping $7.87 for every ballot he picked up in the 1st Congressional District. Eliason only picked up 11.6% of the vote and finished in third place behind Republican Rob Bishop and Democrat Lee Castillo. In that contest, Bishop spent $6.82 per vote in the winning effort. The second-place finish cost Castillo just 45-cents per vote, which is quite thrifty.
Republican Mitt Romney’s victory in the U.S. Senate race to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch cost his campaign $7.37 per vote while Democrat Jenny Wilson spent $2.80 per vote. Romney outspent Wilson by more than 500%, so Wilson’s use of campaign cash was quite economical in comparison.
In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Chris Stewart spent $6.29 per vote in his win over Democrat Shireen Ghorbani. Ghorbani captured 39% of the vote in that race at a cost of $3.59 per vote.
Republican John Curtis captured his first full term in the 3rd Congressional District with an overwhelming win over Democrat James Singer this year. Curtis spent $2.38 per vote in the victory while Singer’s 27% of the balloting cost him just 24-cents per vote.