The famously deep-pocketed Gov. Rick Scott just dropped over $63.5 million of his own money on his successful 2018 U.S. Senate campaign.
Any way you slice it, that's an eye-popping sum. But where does it rank among the most expensive self-funded campaigns in U.S. history? We did a quick dive into Federal Election Commission* data to find out. Here are the top five most expensive self-funded runs for federal office ever:
1. Steve Forbes, ran for President in 2000 (Lost)
Amount spent: $76 million
The editor-in-chief of the magazine that bears his last name spent an astounding $76,075,537 of his own money on an unsuccessful run at the presidency in 2000 — over $113 million in 2018 dollars. He finished a strong second behind eventual nominee George W. Bush at the Iowa Caucuses, but faded to third during the New Hampshire primary. Despite all of the money he spent, Forbes won only ten convention delegates.
2. Donald Trump, ran for President in 2016 (Won)
Amount spent: $66.1 million
Unless you've been living under a rock since June 2015, you've probably read plenty about this campaign and its aftermath. Trump, the real estate heir-turned mogul-turned reality TV star, cut check after check to his campaign on the way to a shocking victory. But one large caveat: Trump's spending included over $47.5 million in loans — and millions directed to products and properties he owned. So it's difficult to characterize all of that $66.1 million as pure expenditure.
3. Ross Perot, ran for President in 1992 (lost)
Amount spent: $65.4 million
Perot was a political self-funding pioneer. The billionaire businessman's runs for president in 1992 and 1996 were among the most successful modern third-party efforts. But they both came up short — and cost Perot tens of millions in the process. The Texan spent $60,867,350 and loaned his campaign another $4,531,371 in the 1992 election eventually won by Bill Clinton. If you adjust for inflation, Perot's 1992 expenditure — over $116 million in 2018 dollars — actually tops everyone else on this list.
4. Rick Scott, ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 (won)
Amount spent: $63.6 million
Rick Scott, unlike Trump or Perot, loaned his U.S. Senate campaign $0. The $63,569,753.81 Scott dropped on the 2018 campaign is a level of pure spending rivaled by no other successful federal candidate. All the more stunning, the wealthy former health care executive spent big money for the third campaign cycle in a row. In his 2010 run for governor, he dished out $78 million; in his 2014 re-election bid, he spent $13 million — almost all of it in the race's final days.
5. Jon Corzine, ran for U.S. Senate in 2000 (won)
Amount spent: $60,200,967.
Corzine, a financial executive who ran Goldman Sachs during the 1990s, loaned his successful campaign over $60 million to become one of New Jersey's two U.S. Senators. Six years later, he won the New Jersey governor's mansion.
*Note: this list is limited to campaigns for federal office, so rainmakers like Democrat Jay Pritzker, who spent $161.5 million of his vast fortune to become the governor of Illinois in 2018, are not included.