That figure does not include money spent on state and local races or ballot initiatives and referenda. For the first time in the history of presidential campaigns, "soft money" groups actually outspent the candidates, to the tune of $79.7 million to $67.1 million.
"Soft money" is by law restricted to "party-building" activities, but the Brennan Center's analysis shows that virtually all "soft money" ads endorsed a specific candidate. Spending across the board was nearly even between the parties: for both House and Senate candidates, the totals varied by less than $2 million.
The totals for the presidential race would be nearly even as well, had George W. Bush not spent $10.8 million on ads in California, a state which he lost by 12 percentage points.
As it is, ads for Bush totaled $86.1 million, compared to Gore's $77.1 million.