California's gubernatorial election result is an important lesson for everyone who's ever claimed big money can simply buy elections. Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman ('the biggest self-funded candidate in history') spent a good part ($143 million) of her billion-dollar fortune trying to win the Governorship of California, while her opponent Jerry Brown spent just $25 million. In other words, the losing candidate outspent the winning candidate 5.72 times over. And the real kicker: Whitman was the Republican candidate, and Brown the Democrat. In cash-strapped California it didn't bode well for the Republican to be blowing a huge amount of cash on just her election campaign.
There's probably plenty of other examples, but this one is certainly the real stand-out.