The upcoming midterm elections are expected to cost more than $9 billion.

That’s according to a conservative analysis from Open Secrets, a project from the Center for Responsive Politics, which estimates that spending on the upcoming Nov. 8 election will blow past the $7.1 billion record set in 2018.

All that money means candidates must spend more time talking to deep-pocketed donors who end up playing an outsized role in our elections. It can also give a leg up to candidates with vast personal wealth that aim to drown out the competition.

On Sunday’s episode of The People’s Guide to Power, a live election series on WNYC, we look at money in politics and talk about what it means to shift to a small donor matching system and whether that could bring more power back into the hands of everyday voters and candidates.

Our guests include City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán, who knows what it's like to run for office with -- and without -- a public financing program. In 2019, she ran for the Democratic nomination for Queens district attorney, a state office. As a first-time candidate in a race with campaign contribution limits that went up near $25,000, it was a crash course in campaign fundraising. She learned what it meant to “Rolodex,” (calling all her contacts), and the secrets to successful “call time.” At the time, there were no public matching funds for state offices.

As a Council candidate with increased name recognition and the potential for public matching funds, she was able to raise the money she needed in less time. So instead of asking donors what they wanted, she knocked on hundreds of doors talking to voters about what they needed.

We’ll also talk with Chisun Lee from The Brennan Center for Justice about a new statewide public campaign finance program launching later this year.

Plus, WNYC’s Albany reporter Jon Campbell will bring us the latest on the money pouring into the race for New York governor, with the latest filing deadline on Friday.

The phones will be open starting at noon on Sunday, October 9th for your calls about what the power of money and politics means to you?

Have you ever given to a political candidate? Why? How did that contribution change how you felt about the race? Was your donation matched by public financing? We want to hear from you at 212-433-WNYC, that’s 212-433-9692 or tweet @ WNYC.