How Much Does a Vote Cost?

9th District’s near-record $10.7 million in outside spending
— - Charlotte Observer

Since the 9th Congressional District Special Election has become the nation’s second most expensive special elections, this is a good time to look at the relationship between money spent and votes earned.

Does campaign money spent, directly equate to election votes? 

This question is best explored by comparing the top 5 vote receivers in the 2019 Special Election Primary for the 9th Congressional District. 

NC Board of Elections

NC Board of Elections

  • Dan Bishop: spent $326,094* to receive 14,405 votes (47%) = $22.63/vote

  • Stony Rushing: spent $73,550.40* to receive 5,882 votes (19.6%) $12.50/vote

  • Matthew Ridenhour: spent $92,524.65* to receive 5,166 votes (17%) = $17.91/vote

  • Leigh Brown: spent $363,388.83* to receive 2,672 votes (8.8%) = $136.00/vote  

  • Stevie Rivenbark spent $55,031.29* to receive 906 votes (3.0%) = $60.74/vote 


The cost per vote number increases when you consider money spent by outside special interest groups. For example, when you include the money that the Realtor Association spent on Leigh Brown, the cost per vote increases to $634.

 For comparison, here is CATO Institute’s breakdown of the 2016 Presidential Election. 


There is no question that money is an important factor in elections. But money is still only one of the factors in an election. How the money is spent, messaging, candidate likability and name recognition are also important factors.  

Spending money in an election is no different than spending money in business. It is important to spend money and resources efficiently and effectively.

If your company needs a more efficient and effective approach to messaging, communications or marketing - we can help. Contact us.    

B Holladay