Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Republicans held a cash lead over Democrats in the final month leading up to a midterm election that's projected to be one of the most expensive ever.
Republican national party committees, candidates in key House and Senate races and super PACs had $337 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30 campaign finance disclosures, while Democrats had $285 million on hand during the same period.
Both parties have spent furiously in this midterm election that the Center for Responsive Politics predicted could be one of the most expensive in history, possibly surpassing $5 billion.
Democratic candidates, seeking to incite a "blue wave" to gain ground in the House and the Senate have so far raised $1.3 billion and spent about $1.1 billion, while Republicans have raised $930 million and spent $745 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The late cash lead for Republicans has been driven by large donations and a generally slower pace of spending.
Democrats have been paced by smaller gifts from online donors across the country.
Billionaires backing blue
While billionaire donors have traditionally spent the majority of their money funding Republican candidates, this year Democrats have begun to receive more backing from the wealthiest people in the United States.
Of the top 10 individual contributors, five donated exclusively to Democratic and liberal candidates.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, donated a total of $10,186,170, with 40 percent going to Democrats and liberals and 60 percent going to Republicans and conservatives, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Farallon Capital founder Tom Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, were the greatest single contributors to Democratic candidates, donating $42,433,582. Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, remained the top single donors, nearly doubling the Steyers' donation with $87,762,600 for Republicans and conservatives.
Some major donors have flipped their allegiance. Boston-based hedge fund manager Seth Klarman announced he would donate $20 million toward electing Democrats. He was once among the largest donors to the Republican Party in New England.
Former New York City mayor and possible 2020 presidential contender Michael Bloomberg also pledged $100 million to help elect Democrats, including $20 million to the Senate Majority PAC this month. He switched from being an independent to a Democrat last month.
Silicon Valley spending
Some of the giants of Silicon Valley -- Twitter, Facebook and Google -- have also been heavily involved in spending this election, primarily contributing money to Democratic candidates.
Together the three companies have made contributions of nearly $6 million during this midterm campaign, with $4.3 million going to Democrats and $1.2 million going to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of that money, $3.4 million went to individual candidates, while $2.1 million went to PACs.
Facebook had the closest split between political parties, with 71 percent of its funds going to Democrats and 25 percent to Republicans. Google contributed 71 percent to Democrats and 20 percent to Republicans, and Twitter gave 97 percent to Democrats and 3 percent to Republicans.
The companies were also active in lobbying, spending a total of $48 million in support of various pieces of legislation from 2017 to 2018.
Google's parent company, Alphabet, spent the most on lobbying at $29,160,000, most frequently lobbying in favor of the Clean Safe Reliable Water Infrastructure Act. Facebook spent $18,480,000, most frequently lobbying for the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 and Twitter spent $1,020,000, focusing on the Email Privacy Act.
Super PACs run red
Super PACs, which can spend unlimited funds in support of or against any candidate, have represented a major infusion of funding for Republicans.
The top two Republican Super PACs, the Congressional Leadership Fund and Senate Leadership Fund, have raised $126 million and $99 million, respectively -- compared to the Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, which raised $113 million and $66 million for Democrats.
Super PACs provide an avenue for the largest individual donors to provide even more funding to the party of their choice. The Adelsons, for example, contributed $112 million to Republican super PACs through the end of last month, including $50 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund.
Several Republican PACs have used their funding to run ads with topics aimed at bringing focus to more national issues in the midterms to tap into support for President Donald Trump.
The Congressional Leadership Fund began running radio ads last week warning voters in 10 competitive House districts of a "liberal mob" seeking to push extreme views in order to "hijack our democracy and steal seats on the United States Supreme Court." They cited "despicable lies, disgusting character assassination" and "falsely accusing an innocent person of being a sexual predator," a reference to the opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump has previously sought to galvanize voters by stating he is symbolically running in the midterm election, through the Republican candidates.
During a campaign rally for Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston on Monday, Trump referred to the midterms as "the election of the caravan, Kavanaugh, law and order, tax cuts and common sense."