Spending may have been down substantially from what was spent in the August primaries, but make no mistake: The final weeks of the 2018 governor’s election were still among the priciest in state history.
According to final campaign finance figures filed Friday with the Secretary of State, more than $1.3 million was spent between major party candidates Mary Throne and Gov.-elect Mark Gordon in the closing months of this year’s governor’s race, well above the $714,269 spent in the closing weeks of the most recent open-seat governor’s race between outgoing Gov. Matt Mead and Leslie Petersen in 2010.
The general election, however, was far less competitive than the six-way Republican primary, resulting in much-deflated levels of spending from the primary elections. Gordon spent more than twice his general election expenses in the primary race alone, with more than $2 million spent.
That’s not to say Gordon didn’t apply his funding where it counted. Going on a multi-front advertising campaign, Gordon spent more than $650,000 on political advertising across digital media, television, radio and print media, more than double than the $239,000 spent by the Throne campaign. Gordon spent a substantial sum on consulting as well, spending more than $135,400 on outside figures with both deep-rooted political connections in the state as well as out-of-staters with insider savvy.
The record for the most expensive election in state history was shattered in the 2018 primaries, at $8.1 million raised. Gordon raised more than $799,000 in the final two months of the campaign while Throne raised $165,000, bringing the final price tag of the 2018 governor’s race at just over $9 million.