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The most expensive midterm election ever

From NBC's Mark Murray
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said today that candidates, the political parties, and other outside groups will spend an estimated $2.6 billion -- yes, billion -- on this year's House and Senate races, making it the most expensive midterm election ever.

In 2002, the total price tag was $2.2 billion (and that was before the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law banned unlimited contributions from the political parties). In 2004, it was $4.2 billion (but that was during a presidential contest). To put the $2.6 billion figure in perspective, that's more than the gross domestic products (GDP) of countries like Swaziland, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Rwanda, Togo, and Malawi, per data from the International Monetary Fund.