Joe Biden's Billion-Dollar Campaign Spent $13 for Every Vote

President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign spent just over $13 for every vote, despite initial estimates that the Democrat's spending would significantly outpace previous candidates.

The Biden campaign spent $1,063,053,521 between April 1, 2019 and November 23, 2020, according to its post-general election report submitted to the FEC on December 3. He formally announced his candidacy on April 25.

This works out to a cost of just over $13 for each of Biden's 81,271,129 votes. This is about the same amount that previous Democratic presidential candidates spent in recent cycles.

The Biden campaign becomes the first in U.S history to raise more than one billion dollars from donors. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's failed presidential effort also spent more than a billion but it was self-funded.

In total, the winning 2020 campaign brought in $1,064,613,463. This figure includes individual contributions, party committee contributions and contributions from other committees.

By contrast, President Donald Trump's campaign spent $718,174,436 from January 1, 2019 to November 23, 2020, according FEC filings, and the president won 74,209,290 votes. This represents a cost of around $9.70 per vote. Trump spent less than $7 per vote in 2016 when he garnered 62,984,828 votes.

Some initial estimates suggested that Biden could spend as much as $18 for every vote - a record sum that would have easily outstripped previous candidates. However, his large margin in the popular vote meant the campaign's spending was ultimately more cost effective.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent less than $12 per vote in her losing 2016 presidential campaign, while former President Barack Obama spent $11 per vote in 2012 and roughly the same in 2008.

The campaigns continued raising contributions after the November 3 election, which is part of the normal operation of presidential campaigns as they try to close out expenses.

The Center for Responsive Politics, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, charitable organization that runs the campaign finance website OpenSecrets.org, calculates that Biden raised a net $107 million from October 15 to November 23.

The Trump campaign netted $178 million over the same period. The president's campaign has sent more than 400 emails asking for contributions since election day, many of them touting unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud and other irregularities.

The 2020 election was the most expensive in history, as was widely expected. OpenSecrets.org had estimated the total cost would be around $14 billion. This figure takes into account all campaigns. Biden's huge fundraising haul and spending figures may indicate that elections will only grow more expensive in the future.

President-elect Joe Biden Pulls Down his Mask
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden pulls down his face mask to tell reporters that he will announce his pick for secretary of the Department of Defense on Friday as he leaves the Queen Theater on December 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden is expected to announce other key members of his cabinet, including members of his health team, on Tuesday. The Biden campaign spent around $13 for every vote. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images