- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Southern Super PAC Tuesday: Who got the most for their campaign cash?
On Super Tuesday, the South was divided.
Each Southern state picked a different Republican presidential hopeful, with Georgia going to home-state favorite Newt Gingrich; Tennessee’s religious conservatives handing a victory to Rick Santorum; and Mitt Romney taking Virginia — thanks largely to the fact that Gingrich and Santorum weren’t on the ballot.
Aside from the size of Santorum’s victory in Tennessee — 37.3 percent of the vote, for 25 of the state’s 46 delegates — none of Super Tuesday’s results were a big surprise. (Even that was to be expected once exit polls revealed that more than 70 percent of GOP primary voters identified as born-again or evangelical Christians.)
And in the end, none of the contests will likely change the fact that delegate math still favors Romney winning the nomination.
But that didn’t stop Super PACs associated with the GOP presidential candidates from pouring more than $5 million into the three states. But how useful was the Super PAC cash to each candidate?
Georgia, which had the most delegates at stake (78), has also seen the most Super PAC money spent by the presidential candidate-linked PACs. According to the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, more than $2.6 million came into Georgia before the primary from two sources: Winning Our Future, a PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future.
For both PACs, the Georgia spending had downsides: For the pro-Gingrich PAC, the fact that they were forced to spend $1.1 million in a state where he was already heavily favored; for the pro-Romney PAC, the reality that $1.5 million only garnered their candidate 25.7 percent of the vote.
In Tennessee, the return on Super PAC investment was even more lopsided. The bulk of the more than $2.3 million spent came through the pro-Romney Restore Our Future (about $1.45 million), compared to $728,000 from Winning our Future and just $160,000 from the pro-Santorum Red, White and Blue Fund.
But in the end, Romney claimed 28 percent of the Tennessee GOP primary, with Gingrich coming in third with 24 percent.
Here’s a complete chart looking at who spent money where and how that compares to the final vote:
Whatever the payoff in individual races, candidates and their allies (non-coordinated, of course) see the value in having a big Super PAC war chest: The Center for Public Intergrity reports that total Super PAC spending for the 2012 presidential hopefuls has eclipsed $66 million — already more than all of these groups spent in 2010.
- Editor's Note: This article was originally published March 7, 2012, at FacingSouth. Cartoon by DonkeyHotey via Flickr photostream, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Before I fell asleep last night, my wife Jody read aloud to me from her copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s book The Lacuna. The passage she chose was a diary entry that opened: “Tonight’s news: the Allies broke open the dikes along the Netherlands coast, letting in the open sea and drowning thousands of German soldiers in the flood. Like the Azteca opening dikes to drown Cortés and his men on the shores of Lake Tenochtitlan. But fiction is nonsense, the war is real. Tomorrow the farmers of Walcheren will wake to see a tide standing over their crops, the floating corpses of the Read on →
Once again a memory from my boyhood days working at Clifford Goolsby’s store digs its way to the surface. That store was a portal to a sometimes-strange world, and one of the stranger things I heard came out of the mouth of Bill Goolsby, a true character. Bill ran the register at Mr. Clifford’s. He was a good-humored fellow and a prankster who soldered a quarter to a nail and drove it into the wooden floor near the register. How many laughs I got from the kids and adults who tried to scrape that quarter off the floor. Bill’s pranks and w Read on →
The modern oil industry, vertically integrated exploration, extraction, refining and distribution of oil on a mass scale, began no later than 1825 in Tsarist Russia. In 1825 Russia produced 3500 tons of crude and refined it, mostly into kerosene. By 1850 the Russian output had doubled to over 7000 tons. By 1906 Russia had a pipeline over 400 miles long stretching from the oil fields in Azerbaijan to the Black Sea port of Batumi, the first major pipeline in the world. By the 1900 there were great strides being taken to develop oil fields in the United States and at Read on →
How many of you are aware that Albert Einstein taught a physics class at Lincoln University (an HBCU in Pennsylvania) in 1946? In doing so, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist once said, "The separation of the races is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.” Another noted figure, Martin Luther King, once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” But we have become silent, for I don’t see the human outcry about where we are today. We have be Read on →