The 2020 Presidential election is still almost a year away, but spending on political ads is already poised to reach records.
An estimated $152 million has been shelled out so far by both the candidates fighting to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the current resident, who wants to remain there, according to the research firm Advertising Analytics.
Digital advertising has accounted for more than half that figure, 57 percent, while TV was a distant second at 33 percent. Spending on Facebook and Google has already hit $60.9 million this year, according to a new analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.
So who are the big spenders so far? Here are the top five, according to Advertising Analytics
1. Tom Steyer
The businessman, who didn't enter the race until July, has wasted no time opening his wallet, pouring $46 million into the campaign so far. He may need to spend more, as RealClear Politics polling puts him in seventh place in Iowa and ninth place in New Hampshire, the first two presidential contests of 2020.
2. President Donald Trump
At $32.5 million, Trump's campaign spending may seem high for a sitting president with underfunded primary challengers (former governors William Weld of Massachusetts and Mark Sanford of South Carolina). Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat seeking to unseat Trump, recently said his campaign was spending $1 million a week on Facebook advertising, and after doing some digging, the BBC reported that the figure is accurate.
3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Of the Democratic contenders who currently hold office, Warren is spending more than anyone, at $14 million. According to Twitter’s Ad Transparency tool, she has spent $902,000 on that social media platform alone. That's second only to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who has spent $1.1 million.
4. Mayor Pete Buttigieg
On Tuesday night, "Mayor Pete" became a lame duck in his current role. James Mueller, who was Buttigieg's high school classmate and became his chief of staff, was elected the new mayor of South Bend, Indiana. While Mueller was running for mayor, Buttigieg was spending $10.1 million to become president.
5. Former Vice President Joe Biden
Recent reports show Biden has been forced to play catch-up in fundraising of late. Advertising Analytics has tallied Biden's political ad expenditures at $9 million, and the New York Times reported that was the same amount he has left in the bank. In July, the publication said that the former VP was slashing his digital ad spending on Facebook and Google