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Self Funders: Who spent the most per vote?

Self funding Republican candidates Meg Whitman, Linda McMahon and Rick Scott spent nearly $300 million of their own money on their 2010 campaigns, but they got very different bangs for their bucks.

McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO who ran on the GOP ticket for Senate in Connecticut, spent more than $46 million on less than 500,000 votes in her loss to Sen.-elect Richard Blumenthal (D). That works out to $97 for each vote -- by far the most of any self-funding candidate in the country.

Whitman, the Republican former eBay CEO, spent more than three times as much as McMahon overall -- $175 million -- on her California governor campaign. But because of the much larger voter pool of the Golden State, Whitman wound up spending much less per voter, about $57.

Scott was the only victor among the three. The former healthcare executive wound up spending $75 million for nearly 2.6 million votes -- a rate of $29 per vote in his successful Florida governor's campaign.

The election last week was a record-setter for self-funding candidates, with Whitman setting a new heights for self-funders and candidates like McMahon and Scott setting new money ceilings in their respective states. At the same time, as usual, winning proved difficult for many of these candidates, as the Post reported last week.

All of the data on these self-funders, including total spent, votes and dollars-per-vote can be found in a handy chart here. (Kudos to the Center for Responsive Politics for assembling the amount spent by each candidate.)

The three mentioned above were by far the biggest self-funders, but they had plenty company -- albeit on somewhat smaller scales.

Car dealer Tom Ganley's (R) House campaign, which wound up flopping after he faced allegations of sexual harassment, spent about $29 per vote.

Ganley was the biggest self-funder among House candidates, at more than $2.6 million, but he had plenty of company.

Washington Democrat Suzan DelBene spent $26 per vote, New York Republican Matt Doheny spent $23 per vote and Ohio Republican Rich Iott spent $20 per vote -- all on losing efforts. (Iott, like Ganley, succumbed to personal scandal after it was revealed that he took part in World War II reenactments in which he wore a Nazi uniform.)

In Senate races, Republican John Raese spent $4.7 million -- about $20 per vote -- on his loss to Gov. Joe Manchin (D) in the West Virginia Senate race.

Not all saw their investments go for naught, though.

Besides Scott, car dealer Scott Rigell (R) won his campaign by spending slightly less than $30 per vote. And in New York's 1st district, businessman Randy Altschuler (R) currently leads Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) in their still-unresolved race. Altschuler spent just more than $2 million, or about $23 per vote.

Besides the big three of McMahon, Whitman and Scott, the biggest self-funders of 2010 were Sen.-elect Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and failed California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R). Johnson spent more than $8.2 million and won more than one million votes, for about $7 per vote. Fiorina supplemented her campaign with $5.5 million and won slightly more votes than Whitman at a tiny fraction of the cost -- less than $2 per vote.

By Aaron Blake  | November 11, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Governors, Senate  
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