The Cost per Vote of North Carolina’s Statewide Primary Elections

While the voter history file has yet to be updated for this year’s primary election, many political analysts and reporters have been looking to pull what information we can about this year’s primary. From examining the primary turnout and unaffiliated voting patterns to analyzing the Ballot Roll-Off, we can gain plenty of information from this year’s primary elections, which is why I have consolidated the latest campaign finances for all candidates for statewide offices and created a cost per vote analysis for each candidate in this year’s primary election.

The most expensive primary for both parties was for Governor, in which both Josh Stein and Mark Robinson spent over $6 million in campaign funds during this election cycle. However, neither Robinson nor Stein had the highest cost per vote; that title goes to Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Graham. While Graham spent nearly $4.5 million, his cost per vote was $28.18.

While the candidates with the highest expenditures succeeded in the gubernatorial elections, this was not the case with all elections. The Republican primary elections for lieutenant governor, commissioner of labor, secretary of state, and superintendent of public instruction all went to candidates who spent far less than some of their competitors.

This might also apply to the Republican primary for state auditor. Jack Clark got the highest vote total of the six Republican candidates in the race. Clark will compete against Dave Boliek, the highest-spending candidate, in the runoff election.

On paper, Democrats also had an expenditure upset in the commissioner of insurance primary. David Wheeler reported expenditures of $283,755.63 compared to Natasha Marcus’s $53,359.94. However, this expenditure is inflated due to Wheeler repaying $251,902.53 in loans to his committee. When accounting for this, Marcus outspent Wheeler by roughly $22,000.

You can review the breakdown of each statewide candidate and their cost per vote here.

North Carolina will conduct a secondary primary election for the Republican candidates for the state auditor and lieutenant governor on May 14th.