The amount of money that has been spent on political elections this year is more than the GDP of the nation of Denmark.
And that's only on the state level.
Almost half a billion dollars -- exactly $466,403,652 -- has been funneled into state campaign efforts in 2012, according to an analysis of giving data by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The group, which based its calculations for each state based on the percentage of campaign finance reports filed by the candidates and political parties it had access to (as state databases are continually updating during an election cycle), added up the amount spent on a combination of gubernatorial, House and Assembly, Senate and court elections to come to its final sum for each state.
California campaigns by far received the most contributions, bringing a total of $76 million -- and that's only with 46 percent of the campaign finance reports that were available for analysis. The candidates for the state's House and Assembly races have received an impressive $28.2 million, while another $7 million was collected in the state's 20 Senate races.
Some of the other top-dollar states include Wisconsin ($46.3 million), Illinois ($42.2 million), Texas ($37.4 million) and Missouri ($29 million).
Wisconsin's recent gubernatorial recall election led to a huge uptick in campaign spending, leading the Badger State to rake in the second-highest amount of contributions in 2012. Of the more than $46 million contributed to state candidates this year, more than $36 million went toward the gubernatorial recall race. Of that amount, about $30.4 million was contributed to Gov. Scott Walker's campaign, including enormous individual contributions from wealthy out-of-state donors, including the Nevada-based casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and Bob Perry, who owns the Texas-based home building firm Perry Homes.
In Illinois and Texas, millions have been poured into state-wide House and Senate races. In both states, all of the House seats (118 in Illinois and 150 in Texas) are up for grabs. Illinois' 59 Senate seats are also up for reelection, while 15 of Texas' 31 Senate seats are also involved in election races.
In Missouri, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has received more than $7.6 million in contributions to his reelection bid, while another $7.1 million was directed to his challengers.The state's 163 House races have received another $4.2 million, while its 17 Senate races have raked in another $2.9.
History indicates that contributions to state campaigns could triple before November. In fact, $2.5 billion was raised by state campaigns in the 2009-2010 election cycle, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, surpassing the previous record of $2.2 billion record set during the 2005-2006 elections.
Interestingly, the organization found that the candidates themselves were their own biggest donors in 2009-2010, investing $1.3 billion to fund their own campaigns.