It cost more than $160 million for Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to come in second place in a single nominating contest.
That astounding sum makes Mr. DeSantis’s failed presidential bid among the most expensive in modern Republican primary elections. But the details of where the money went, laid out in filings to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, show just how free-spending Mr. DeSantis and his allied super PACs were.
They directed at least $53 million through firms controlled or owned by Jeff Roe, the powerful Republican strategist who served as the top adviser to Never Back Down, Mr. DeSantis’s main super PAC.
They spent $31.3 million on television advertising time.
They spent at least $3.3 million on private airfare, between the campaign and Never Back Down.
And they donated roughly $110,000 to the campaigns of state and federal elected officials who had endorsed Mr. DeSantis.
All for 23,420 votes in Iowa.
The bulk of the money — $130 million — was spent by Never Back Down. The super PAC was supposed to be Mr. DeSantis’s secret weapon in his quest to take down former President Donald J. Trump, including through an ambitious canvassing operation built to knock on the doors of DeSantis supporters as many as five times. His campaign spent an additional $28 million.