Spending in this year’s Missouri race between Sen. Roy Blunt and Jason Kander came to just a few dollars under $75 million, figures released Thursday show, making it by far the most expensive Senate race in state history.
Blunt, a Republican, spent roughly $16.2 million, while Democrat Kander spent $12.6 million, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. Outside spending — from interest groups for and against each candidate — reached $46.2 million, easily eclipsing amounts spent in 2006, 2010 and 2012.
Blunt, the incumbent Republican, and Kander, the Missouri secretary of state and a Democrat, submitted spending reports Thursday for the final weeks of their campaigns.
Television ads for both candidates carpeted the airwaves in the closing days. Kander’s ads, and those of his allies, attacked Blunt for the Republican’s family connections and lobbying work. Blunt ads warned of the dangers of a Democratic takeover of the Senate, and linked Kander with President Barack Obama.
The candidates engaged in just one public debate.
But the race was considered close until Election Day, and many outsiders believed control of the Senate could be determined by the Missouri winner. As a result, millions of dollars poured into the state in an attempt to influence voters’ decisions.
Blunt won the race with 49.3 percent of the vote, compared with 46.2 percent for Kander.
Although outside spending in Missouri set a record, it fell far short of spending in some other states. Outside groups spent $138 million in Pennsylvania’s Senate race, FEC records show, and $95 million in New Hampshire.
Top contributors to Blunt included banks and investment firms such as Goldman Sachs, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and Open Secrets. Additionally, lobbyists and lawyers provided Blunt more than $1.1 million for his campaign.
Law firms provided $1.6 million for Kander, the center reported. Liberal groups and teachers gave $1 million.
The top outside spender was the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with Sen. Mitch McConnell and former White House aide Karl Rove. It spent $11.3 million supporting Blunt and opposing Kander.
Political action committees associated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association spent a combined $2 million on Blunt’s behalf.
Kander’s support came from unions, a veterans group called VoteVets, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which spent more than $7.7 million in Missouri to boost Kander’s campaign.