Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich once described politics as a war for power. As the 2018 midterm election nears, in many parts of the country, the analogy is apt. The outcomes of dozens of closely contested races will have far reaching consequences — so they are bitterly fought, and expensive.
In addition to several gubernatorial races, this year’s election will decide which party will control the House and possibly the Senate for at least the next two years. For many, the election also represents a referendum on President Donald Trump’s first two years in office, seen as a bellwether for how he may fare in a 2020 bid for re-election.
With so much at stake, campaign spending among both Republicans and Democrats is shattering records. According to estimates from the Center for Responsive Politics, total campaign spending is projected to top $5.2 billion this election season, eclipsing the previous midterm spending record of $4.2 billion.
This election cycle, Democratic candidates are out-fundraising and out-spending their Republican rivals. By the time the polls close, Democrats are projected to have spent $2.5 billion compared to the GOP’s $2.2 billion.
While races for House and Senate seats are more local in nature than presidential contests, with the balance of power in the legislative branch at stake, contributions this year are coming from well outside many candidates’ constituency base. In some of the closest races, donations are flooding in from all over the country, fueling the final push before election day.
To identify the neighborhoods donating most to 2018 midterm campaigns, 24/7 Wall St. totalled campaign contributions to the Republican and Democratic parties from ZIP codes using data from the Federal Election Commission.Contribution data is for the period from Nov. 9, 2016 through Oct. 15, 2018. Population and median household income are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey.
There is a wide scope of donation recipients this cycle, and the candidate receiving the largest share of contributions from a given ZIP code is not always affiliated with the political party receiving the most donations in the same area. Additionally, fundraising is an ongoing process, and not all of the politicians ranking as the largest recipient in a given ZIP code will be on the ballot on Nov. 6.
Four ZIP codes rank among the largest donors for both Republicans and Democrats. These neighborhoods are located exclusively in New York City and Washington D.C. and are home to wealthy Americans with powerful interests — on both sides of the political spectrum.