The tight race between Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko and Democratic challenger Dana Balter was one of the most expensive congressional campaigns in central New York history.
Between the campaigns and outside groups, more than $9.1 million was spent on the 24th Congressional District race, which Katko won by five points. The tally includes post-general election fundraising reports filed this week by the Balter and Katko campaigns.
It's the second-most expensive race in the region's history. The 2012 campaign between then-U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, Democratic challenger Dan Maffei and Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum holds the record with nearly $10 million spent in the election cycle.
In the 2014 midterm election, Katko and Maffei spent more than $8 million in a race the Republican won by 20 percentage points.
For the period covering Oct. 18 through Nov. 26, Balter outraised Katko by nearly $125,000 — $366,857 to $241,924. The Democratic challenger also outspent the GOP incumbent by a $932,507 to $654,728.27 margin.
The campaigns' main expenditure was advertising. Balter's campaign spent $650,236 on ad buys and production in the post-general period. Katko's ad buys and productions cost his campaign $449,217. His campaign also spent $54,000 on polling in the weeks leading up to the election.
The top donors to Balter's campaign included $5,000 from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's IMPACT political action committee, $5,000 from SEIU COPE and $5,000 from EMILY's List. Some House Democrats contributed thousands to the Syracuse Democrat's campaign. One notable donor: CHERPAC, the political action committee led by Illinois U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, contributed $3,500.
Bustos is the incoming chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is tasked with recruiting House Democratic challengers.
Katko's campaign received $5,000 from accounting firm Ernst & Young's PAC, and $3,000 from U.S. Rep. Will Hurd's Having Unwavering Resolve and Determination PAC. The Republican also collected a $2,700 donation from Dr. Miriam Adelson, a top GOP donor along with her husband, Sheldon Adelson. Miriam Adelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last month.
Balter nearly matched Katko in fundraising for the entire election cycle. Katko, whose incumbency advantage helped boost his war chest, raised $2,775,873 from January 2017 through late November. Balter reported receipts totaling $2,735,275, with most of those funds coming in the last few months of the campaign.
Nearly 86 percent of Balter's total receipts came from individual donors. She raised $2,347,636 from individuals in the 2018 cycle. She also netted $213,881.97 from political action committees.
Katko received more money from PACs than individuals. He raised $1,371,490 from PACs and other committees, which accounted for nearly half of his total receipts. He raised $1,010,604 from individuals.
As of the end of November, Katko spent $2,971,657 in the 2018 election cycle. Balter spent $2,640,442. Some of Balter's funds were spent on the congressional primary in June, when she defeated fellow Democrat Juanita Perez Williams by 25 points.
Outside groups, such as the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC and the National Republican Congressional Committee, spent $3,552,396 on the 24th district race.