New Hampshire voters cast their ballots at the Webster School in Manchester on Nov. 4, 2014. Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Scott Brown is challenging Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. UPI/Matthew Healey | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The 2014 midterm elections, already the most expensive midterms ever, likely passed another milestone this week.
By that time all the votes are cast in the 36 Senate elections, campaigns and interest groups will have aired more than 1 million television ads, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of preliminary data gathered by advertising tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG.
As of Oct. 27, with eight days to go before Election Day, 908,000 ads focused on U.S. Senate races had aired. Citing projections based on ad buys, possible runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana and ad trends from previous weeks, CPI projected this cycle's final total will eclipse the million-ad mark.
"Last week alone, candidates, party committees, super PACs, nonprofit groups and others together produced 83,000 U.S. Senate-focused ads -- more than any other single week during the 2014 election cycle," the report found.
The bitterly fought campaign in North Carolina between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican state Rep. Thom Tillis featured 11,229 ads -- about one a minute -- the most of any race last week, from Oct. 21-27.
Iowa's battle between Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst was a close second, with 9,742 ads last week. In Colorado and Georgia, voters saw about two ads every three minutes, and Kansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Arkansas all saw about an ad every two minutes.
In just the top 10 races this week, Republicans have spent $30 million, followed by Democrats' $27 million.
Overall, more than $1.19 billion -- about half of the $4 billion total spent by groups and campaigns this cycle -- went toward ads for federal and gubernatorial races, for a total of 2.2 million aired ads.