A still from a Meg Whitman ad.
A still from a Meg Whitman ad. - 
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Republicans are celebrating today a wave of good fortune in elections all across the country.

The GOP takes control of the U.S. House come January. Democrats gave up at least six of their seats in the Senate, but the Dems will retain control in that chamber. It was another election cycle of eye-popping money spent on campaign ads, on get out the vote efforts, on polling. Helped along of course with cash that came in from corporations and outside organizations.

Marketplace's Scott Tong is with us live from Washington to help us sort it all out. Good morning Scott.

SCOTT TONG:Good morning Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: How much money are we talking about, and more to the point, did it work?

TONG: We're talking $211 million. That's what outside groups -- not the candidates -- spent on what's called "independent expenditures" for TV and radio ads. That's five times more than any previous midterm. The tally comes from the Center for Responsive Politics. The group's Dave Levanthal says the biggest spenders were conservative groups. And as he put it: "the results speak for themselves."

DAVE LEVANTHAL: In the majority of the races that attracted the most outside spending, the Republican candidate won. Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky. All saw more than $5 million spent by outside organizations on that political election.

CHIOTAKIS: So in a way, that's money well spent. But what about candidates who spent their own money

TONG: The success rate there is a measly one out of five. Most candidates who spent lots of their money lost, including ebay founder Meg Whitman in California who spent more than $100 million, Carly Fiorina, formerly of HP, and Linda McMahon, former CEO of Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Scott Tong. Scott, thanks.

TONG: You're welcome.