How Much Did the Obama Campaign Cost?

Presidential Race Cost Nearly $2 Billion Total

Spending on the 2012 presidential race between Barack Obama, left, and Mitt Romney exceed $2.6 billion and was the most expensive in U.S. history.
Spending on the 2012 presidential race between Barack Obama, left, and Mitt Romney exceed $2.6 billion and was the most expensive in U.S. history. Marc Serota/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Obama campaign cost the incumbent president, the Democratic Party and the primary super PACs supporting his candidacy more than $1.1 billion in the 2012 presidential race, according to published reports and campaign finance data.

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That was just a small part of the more than $7 billion spent by all federal candidates for president and Congress in the 2012 election, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The Obama campaign cost an average of $2.9 million per day for 2012. The $1 billion-plus in spending by those entities includes:

  • $775 million spent by Obama's campaign committee
  • $286 million spent by the Democratic Party
  • $75 million spent by the Priorities USA Action super PAC

The total spending by those entities amounts to $14.96 per vote for President Barack Obama, who won 65,899,660 votes to win the 2012 election.

Spending on Romney

About $993 million was raised by Mitt Romney, the Republican Party and the primary super PACs supporting his candidacy. Those entities spent $992 million of that money, according to published reports and campaign finance data.

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That's an average of $2.7 million per day for 2012. The nearly $1 billion in spending by those entities includes:

  • $460 million spent by Romney's campaign committee
  • $379 million spent by the Republican Party
  • $153 million spent by the Restore Our Future super PAC

The total spending by those entities amounts to $16.28 per vote for Romney, the Republican nominee. Romney won 60,932,152 votes in the 2012 election.

Total Spending in the 2012 Presidential Race

Spending on the 2012 presidential race exceed $2.6 billion and was the most expensive in U.S. history, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics.

That includes money raised and spent by Obama and Romney, the political parties who supported them, and the numerous super PACs that tried to influence voters.

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“It’s a lot of money. Every presidential election is the most expensive ever. Elections don’t get cheaper,” FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub told Politico in 2013.

Total Spending in the 2012 Election

When you add up all the spending in the 2012 election by the presidential and congressional candidates, the political parties, political-action committees and super PACs, the total comes to a stunning $7 billion, according to Federal Election Commission data.

In all, 261 candidates ran for 33 Senate seats. They spent $748 million, according to the FEC. Another 1,698 candidates ran for the 435 House seats. They spent $1.1 billion. Add on the hundreds of millions of dollars from parties, PACs and super PACs and you get a record-shattering amount of spending in 2012.