- 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
Over the years of my political seething I have cooled myself off some by exercising an art form, the letter to the editor (LTE). I even got one in the New York Times once. Mostly though they go to Atlanta's daily or weekly rags, or when I'm visiting Michigan, their daily. Sometimes I might browse a monthly magazine, a business-oriented one recently. They did an interview with Georgia Power's new president and I couldn't let him get away with his greenwashing, not when they're engaged in a huge con, bilking the ratepayers, ignoring clean alternatives like wind and solar and Read on →
I have a built in magnet. It works to attract people that I otherwise might not meet. My magnet can be depended upon to pull near to me the craziest, neediest, saddest, and loneliest people in proximity. Tales of woe, distress, illness, sabotage, conspiracy, and government plots all have been the subject of unprovoked sharing. Likewise I hear about triumph over adversity, evil corporations, and politicians. They approach in grocery aisles, department stores, ladies rooms, parking lots, and today in a crosswalk. What is it about me that says "Spill your guts, I can take it?" Having been told on numerous Read on →
If you ask me what makes the world spin around, I'll tell you it ain't love or money or even oil from the Middle East. I swear to God, it's irony -- sheer good old-fashioned, unadulterated irony. Sometimes I get the impression the thing has jumped on my back, attached itself like a leech and hung on like the hot Georgia sun in the Dog Days of summer. Irony seems to stalk me wherever I go. Of course, I'm getting a little ahead of myself... *********************************** Man, I wish I could take credit for that look on her face! I'd like to Read on →
Readers of my articles on LikeTheDew will know that I’m not an advocate of defying the law, but I’m about to encourage this where necessary. Often focused on the joys of my grandchildren, this time I’m focused on yours too. I’m talking about Climate Change and our need to DO something about it. I was heartened to read about two activists who set an example in May 2013, protesting about the burning of coal in an attention-seeking move, by taking a small lobster boat named “The Henry David T,” (a reference to Thoreau) to picket the Brayton Point Power Station off the Massach Read on →