The first round of Republican Senate primary voting in Georgia cost seven campaigns and outside groups at least $29.17 per vote. The two candidates who led in spending — businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston — still have two months of campaigning before a July 22 runoff.
By comparison, the candidate who won the Democratic primary, Michelle Nunn, got a bargain. She spent just $11.87 per vote.
The cost-per-vote is based on an Associated Press analysis of spending disclosures by the campaigns and independent groups that poured millions into a nationally watched contest that will help determine which party controls the Senate in the final years of President Barack Obama’s administration.
For perspective, total presidential campaign spending in 2012 added up to around $17 per vote based on general election turnout. Presidential turnout is typically the highest of any election, while primaries in midterm election years are the lowest. The Georgia figures highlight the large sums being spent and the low voter participation that money has yielded.
Total spending in the Georgia Republican primary topped $17.5 million — at least $13.2 million by the candidates’ campaigns and the rest by outside groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and various super PACs trying to elect or defeat particular candidates. Those totals do not include what the candidates may have spent in the final weeks of the campaign but haven’t yet disclosed through the Federal Elections Commission.
Almost 604,000 of about 5 million active voters — those who are registered and have cast ballots in recent elections — cast ballots in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary.