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25 News looks at election spending in Central Texas and Brazos Valley

Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 21:08:06-05

The 2020 election may end up costing more than $14 billion making it the most expensive in history and twice as expensive as the last.

But 25 News wanted to know more. So, we took a deep dive into a mountain of paperwork.

We stayed with just two races, President and Texas Senate, and with one medium, television, where companies must file their campaign advertising contracts with the Federal Communications Commission.

Sarah Taylor says she did her homework ahead of last Tuesday's election.

"Especially with this election I did a lot of research, I went and pulled up all the candidates that were going to be on my ballot knew exactly who I was going to vote for going in," she said.

But lots of voters did not. With threats of Texas turning blue, or at least purple, money poured in, mostly to television advertising.

In the 13 county Waco-Temple-Bryan TV market, we pulled sales contracts from every station in Central Texas and the Brazos Valley and we crunched the numbers.

What follows are "estimates" of what candidates spent:

MJ Hegar and John Cornyn spent just short of $666,409 in their battle for the Senate.

Neither, President Trump nor Vice President Biden spent a dime here, except for network television, which wasn't a part of our investigation.

But Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren spent here, with Bloomberg spending 99 percent or over two billion dollars spend in this election cycle on TV alone.

Add both races we looked at, and you find well over a million and a half dollars spent here to get our votes.

It's a small drop in the bucket to the 14 billion reportedly spent, and that's before lawyers got involved.

Veteran campaign manager Kirk Bell says when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, you can't beat TV.

"We designed it to reach our voters, you want to try to hit TV stations and mailings and places where they are most likely to see the message," he explained.

And as Sarah Taylor will tell you, there was no missing the message in Central Texas.

”Absolutely, I mean if that's if that's what it takes to get you to go look somebody up,” she said.

She hopes voters, as she did, did their homework, and didn't automatically let big money and advertising sway their vote.