A review of spending by the 2016 Clinton Presidential Campaign reveals that more money was spent in California than in all ten of the Midwestern states she lost, combined. The campaign spent $35.7 million in California, which is considered a safe state for Democrats and has not gone to a Rebublican since George H. W. Bush in 1988. This exceeds the $32.5 million her campaign spent in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missour, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin combined.
The pattern seems especially odd when considering the number of electoral votes that were at stake in these states. Clinton spent about $650,000 per electoral vote in California compared to $386,000 per electoral vote in the ten Midwestern states she lost. Adding in the two Midwestern states where she won, Illinois and Minnesota, changes the average only slightly to $388,000 per electoral vote.
It is unclear what the campaign hoped to accomplish by spending nearly twice as much per electoral vote in California than in the entire Midwest. She won California with 8.8 million votes, nearly doubling Trump’s 4.5 million with a margin of victory of 4.3 million votes.
In the three industrial states that are considered to have cost Clinton the election, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by a combined margin of about 107,000 votes. Adding Florida, the other “surprise” Trump win, brings the margin to about 227,000, still far below her winning margin in California.
Yet the Clinton campaign spent only about $18.3 million in these four states, which have a total of 75 electoral votes. This averages to $200,000 per electoral vote, meaning she spent over 3 times as much per electoral vote in California as she did in the states that lost her the election.
Clinton’s campaign has been widely criticized for ignoring the Upper Midwest where Trump was able to win while spending far less. Mr. Trump’s rallies at manufacturing and industrial locations were a common occurence in these states. By comparison, Clinton did not visit Wisconsin after the Democratic Primaries.