Each vote won by Democrat Cheri Bustos in Tuesday's election cost $38, compared to $48 for each vote cast for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling in the 17th District congressional race.
A staggering $12.1 million was spent on the race, the fourth most expensive in the country for the U.S. House in terms of spending by outside groups, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.
Ms. Bustos won Tuesday's 17th Congressional District election by an 18,000-vote margin, although less money was raised and spent on her behalf than on Rep. Schilling's campaign.
Final fundraising reports for the election have yet to be filed, but as of Oct. 17, Rep. Schilling had raised $2.2 million and spent $1.8 million. Ms. Bustos was not far behind, raising $1.9 million and spending $1.4 million.
The really big money flowed into the district from outside groups, who put a combined $8.8 million into the election, the Sunlight Foundation found.
The $38 cost per vote for Ms. Bustos is based on the $5.7 million spent on her campaign - with outside money included - and the 150,575 votes she received.
The $48 cost per vote for Rep. Schilling is based on the $6.4 million spent by his campaign and outside groups, and the132,033 votes he received.
"That's actually pretty good," Western Illinois University political science professor Keith Boeckelman said of the $38 cost per vote for Ms. Bustos.
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-McHenry, who lost to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, had a cost per vote of $70 based on the $7 million spent on his behalf for just under 100,000 votes.
The outside money poured into the 17th District was fairly evenly split between the two candidates although Rep. Schilling had an edge.
According to the Sunlight Foundation, $4.2 million was spent by groups supporting the Democrat and$4.5 million by organizations that backed Rep. Schilling.
Republican operative Karl Rove's non-profit Crossroads GPS entered the race late and dropped $1.3 million on TV advertising in an attempt to sway the election in favor of Rep. Schilling.
The top spender in the race was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which spent $2.8 million, with most of that money funding TV advertising.
But It's difficult to say if the tsunami of advertising worked.
"A lot of people are arguing that you get to a point of saturation with the TV ads and people just tune them out," Mr. Boeckelman said.
Wealthy individuals, corporations and unions, freed by relaxed spending regulations in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, sent election spending soaring to unprecedented heights this year.
But much of that money was squandered on losing campaigns and some donors may now be experiencing "buyers remorse," Mr. Boeckleman said.
"I think it may be hard to raise this kind of money again."
Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.