The US elections in 2020 cost a record $14 billion, establishing itself as the most expensive election in U.S. history by a large margin and twice as expensive as the previous presidential election cycle. 

That’s according to an estimate from the Center for Responsive Politics and

An extraordinary influx of political donations in the final months — driven by a Supreme Court battle and closely watched races for the White House and Senate — pushed total spending past the projected $11 billion figure with weeks yet to go before Election Day. 


Even amid a pandemic, everyone was giving more during the 2020 elections season, from ordinary individuals making small donations to billionaires cutting eight-figure checks to super PACs. Women are smashing donation records, and Americans are increasingly donating to candidates who aren’t running for office in their state. 

The 2020 election was more than twice as expensive as the runner up, the 2016 election. In fact, this year’s election will see more spending than the previous two presidential election cycles combined. 

The massive numbers are headlined by unprecedented spending in the presidential contest, which is expected to see $6.6 billion in total spending alone. That’s up from around $2.4 billion in the 2016 race. 


Yes, he won the election, but he also raised the most money. President-Elect Joe Biden was the first candidate in history to raise $1 billion from donors. His campaign brought in a record-breaking $938 million through Oct. 14, riding Democrats’ enthusiasm to defeat Trump. President Donald Trump raised $596 million, which would be a strong fundraising effort if not for Biden’s immense haul. 

Much of Biden’s campaign cash came in late as he broke single-month fundraising records for September and October. The same can be said for Democratic candidates running for Senate in South Carolina, Maine and Arizona who now hold the top three spots for best fundraising quarters ever. 


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Driven by their supporters’ strong opposition to Trump, Democrats are continuing their fundraising prowess that helped them dominate the money race in the 2018 election cycle. Their money machine is more powerful than ever in 2020. 

Overall, small donors account for 22 percent of the money raised in the 2020 cycle, a high water mark. These individual donors giving $200 or less only accounted for 15 percent of money raised in the 2016 election. 

$1 billion was the amount the Trump re-election campaign has set as a fundraising target for the 2020 elections.  Donald Trump announced his reelection bid as soon as he took office four years ago and has raised a total of $595.6 million.19 This amount includes donations to his official campaign committee and outside groups like single-candidate super PACs and hybrid PACs or Carey Committees. Top donors include America First Action and Preserve America PAC.

The $595.6 million raised fell short of Trump's targeted $1 billion as the total he would like to raise for his campaign.20 Trump used most of the money raised on his election campaign, spending $574.9 million.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, raised significantly more money than Trump, including donations to his official campaign committee and outside groups like single-candidate super PACs and hybrid PACs. Top donors include Priorities USA Action and Future Forward USA.

Biden spent significantly more on his campaign than Trump did at $775.629 million. However, he still had $162 million cash on hand by Election Day.

In total, Biden and Trump spent a combined $1.3 billions. 

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