The 2020 presidential and congressional elections are well on the way to becoming the most expensive in history. According to FEC records collected by Opensecrets.org, a total of 6.1 billion U.S dollars in spending for the election cycle had already been filed as of September 17. Almost one third of this spending can be chalked up to the large (and wealthy) field in the Democratic primary, which included deep-pocketed billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. More expenditures come from the parties and outside groups. As seen in our graphic, the party of the incumbent president traditionally spends less for the respective election cycles because of less money spent in the primaries.
During the 2016 cycle, spending hit 7.2 billion (adjusted for inflation). Expenditures are expected to increase sharply before election day and a filing backlog means that the books will be closed only on Dec 31. Disregarding primary spending, Democrats and Republicans are almost neck-to-neck in overall spending this election cycle, similar to the situation in the 2016 cycle.