The first ballots have only just been cast in the 2020 presidential race, but the contest has already prompted torrents of spending.

According to the data firm Advertising Analytics, the Democratic presidential candidates cumulatively spent almost $835 million just on ads alone to date. Most of the Democratic money spent so far has come from the pockets of the two billionaires in the race, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and businessman Tom Steyer who have spent $439 million and $176 million respectively.

Meanwhile, Advertising Analytics reported that President Donald Trump had spent almost $27 million on broadcast and digital ads, plus $10 million on Super Bowl ads and an additional $31 million on ads by his joint fundraising committee.

With so much money sloshing around, there's something often overlooked: Reallocating just a small fraction of that sum into lower-profile races could have a transformative effect on politics and policy on the state and local level.

"Many Democratic donors are failing to meaningfully invest in state and local elections," wrote Amanda Litman and Ross Morales Rocketto,

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