7 things Eric Cantor spent more on than David Brat spent on his entire campaign

This post has been updated.

This bit of trivia --  from The New York Timesreport on the race --concerning the upset victory of Dave Brat (R-Va.) over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday grabbed a lot of people: "Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Cantor’s campaign had spent about $168,637 at steakhouses compared with the $200,000 his challenger, David Brat, had spent on his entire campaign."

Which is remarkable. But it's only one small data point in what was a massively financially-unbalanced race.


Lawn signs, rarely a good spending decision. (EPA/JIM LO SCALZO)

We looked at the FEC filings for the two candidates to demonstrate the difference in campaign infrastructure between a member of a party's leadership in Congress and a poorly-funded challenger.

Through May 21, Cantor's campaign had spent $4,867,298 since January 2013, the beginning of the cycle. By that same date, Brat had spent $122,792 — about one-fortieth of Cantor's total. (The Times' $200,000 figure likely referred to how much Brat had raised.) Brat hasn't yet filed a detailed articulation of how he spent his money, but Cantor has, repeatedly. Looking only at what Cantor's campaign committee spent in 2013 (for which data is available in an easily readable format), we can compare his spending in various categories versus the entirety of Brat's outlay.

And so:


The red is Cantor's spending in various categories. Not all categories, mind you, just the ones where he spent $50,000 or more last year. The green is everything Brat had spent by May 21. Cantor spent more in 2013 on payroll, on fundraising consultants, on airfare than Brat spent at all. (In fact, Cantor has two categories for airfare, as you can see above.)

None of the red bars above include Cantor spending in 2014. If you'd like, you can read his two filings for 2014 at the FEC website. In total, they list an additional 287 pages of checks that the campaign wrote. Through May 21. Anyway, you get the point.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He previously wrote for The Wire, the news blog of The Atlantic magazine. He has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Daily, and the Huffington Post. Philip is based in New York City.
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