THE BLOG
11/14/2014 06:45 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

How Much Did the Illinois Gubernatorial Candidates Pay for Your Vote?

The 2014 Illinois governor's race broke all previous records for campaign spending in a statewide race. Both candidates poured millions of dollars into convincing Illinoisans to vote for them.

While fourth quarter expenditures won't be filed until the Jan. 15 deadline, more than $100 million is believed to have been spent throughout the course of the campaign. Just as impressive is the total amount raised by Gov. Pat Quinn and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner. Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4, Quinn reported $9.3 million in contributions; Rauner reaped $20.6 million -- mostly from his own bank account.

A tremendous sum of money was required to win votes in governor's election, especially when a wealthy businessman is pit against a long-time politician backed by unions and progressive political action committees in a historically blue state. All this begets the question: how much did it cost per vote for each candidate?

Although the final campaign finance reports for expenditures are not yet available, by using spending figures from the third quarter, combined with the aforementioned contributions between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4, we're able to get a ballpark estimate of what it cost each candidate per vote.

[Note: The cost per vote amounts below are rough estimates and won't be 100 percent accurate until fourth quarter spending figures are released in January.]

Data from the Illinois State Board of Elections' website and poll results from the Chicago Sun-Times' "Election Central" were used to come up with these dollar amounts.

During the third quarter, Quinn spent $15.2 million and received $9.3 million in contributions between Oct. 1 and Election Day. Together, those two figures add up to roughly $24.5 million. Quinn received a little more than 1.60 million votes. Once the number of votes is divided by the dollar figure, it comes out to $15.26 per vote.

Now let's apply the same formula for Rauner. The governor-elect reported $20.4 million in expenses and $20.6 million in contributions during the 35 days leading up to the election, totaling $41 million. Rauner garnered 1.78 million votes, costing him about $22.96 per ballot.

Voter turnout also plays a role in determining cost per ballot. With a measly 47 percent of the state's 7.5 million registered voters showing up to the polls, the cost per vote increased.

Paul Merrion, the Washington bureau chief for Crain's Chicago Business did a similar calculation on election day, using data from the Illinois State Board of Elections and input from Emeritus Professer Kent Redfield at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The estimate assumes that the two candidates finish in a tie, with each candidate receiving the average number of votes cast for the two leading candidates in the 2010 governor's race, Mr. Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady. The estimate also assumes the candidates spend all the money they have raised.

Check out Reboot Illinois to see how previous gubernatorial elections in Illinois broke along fundraising-prowess lines. Plus, find out which gubernatorial candidate spent more than his or her opponent but still lost.

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