Such a Bargain!

Anybody who paid even casual attention to yesterday’s New York gubernatorial primary is likely aware that Andrew Cuomo outspent Zephyr Teachout by a massive, epic, biblical margin. There was even a Cuomo ad running on the DirecTV free teaser on the flight I took from San Francisco to Atlanta on Monday, somehow or other.

But thanks to Philip Bump of WaPo, we can measure the financial mismatch and the ROI of the two campaigns with greater precision:

In his final report to the New York Board of Elections, Cuomo reported having $30.5 million in the bank. Since 2011, he’s spent almost $20 million on his race; according to reports filed in 2014, he’s spent about $14 million of that over the last 12 months. Teachout, by contrast, raised about $600,000 and spent $283,000. (As of 11 days before the election; candidates report final numbers next week.)

Cuomo earned 327,150 votes, according to the most recent data from the AP. Teachout got 180,336….

If you don’t have a calculator handy, that means that Cuomo spent 38.5 times as much on each of his votes as Zephyr Teachout. If he’d gotten the same return on investment as she did for his $19 million, he’d have gotten 12.6 million votes — more than enough to guarantee a win, and about two-thirds of the population of the entire state.

To put it another way, Cuomo spent $60.62 per vote, and Teachout $1.57. Now it’s hard to put a value on four years as governor of New York. But it’s probably safe to say that the hold on Cuomo’s presidential ambitions that many Teachout voters were probably hoping for was–priceless.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.