The fight between establishment Republicans and Tea Party challengers was super expensive this year – costing more than $135 million.
Bloomberg’s review of FEC data finds that staggering cost just to get past primary season this year came from candidates and outside groups trying to influence the elections. Those GOP candidates will need to raise a whole new round of money before they take on Democrats in November.
First up for the candidates is restocking their campaign accounts, which can be slow-going given the federal donation limit of $2,600. About $100 million was spent by candidates, while the pro-business and Tea Party groups have sunk $35 million in primary races that pit them against each other.
The totals are estimates and spending was probably even higher. Some outside campaign activity isn’t reported to the FEC, and disclosure reports for candidates are filed on a periodic basis and don’t precisely identify what is spent on primaries compared with general elections.