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
Grandpa was a quiet and gentle man. Grandma did most of the talking. He was over six feet tall and she was a little over five feet, feisty and independent. They obviously had agreed that he would make the big decisions and she would make all the small ones. All of the decisions were small. I was four years old when my brother and I were sent to live with Grandma and Grandpa, whom I called Papa, during World War II. My father was away, not at war because he had failed the medical, working on the railroad tracks and bridges. Read on →
I was reading an amusing description the other day of John Betjeman, a man who became poet laureate of England in 1972. He must have been a fun guy to have been around judging from how a journalist once described him as a man who looked “like a highly intelligent muffin--a small, plump, rumpled man with luminous soft eyes, a chubby face topped with wisps of white hair and imparting a distinct air of absentmindedness.” Although I am not chubby or overly rumpled, I would be delighted for anyone to portray me in such an endearing way. The description made me pon Read on →
Contrary to his fragmentation-grenade TV persona, the Morton Downey Jr. I knew was a pussycat. A pussycat o’ nine tails sometimes, but a pussycat all the same. I got to know Mort – the subject of a new documentary called "Evocateur" -- when he was just beginning to develop the obstreperous, outrageous on-air shtick that a few years later would make him briefly notorious. All you “loudmouths” and “pablum-puking liberals” out there know what I’m talking about. On the nationally syndicated show that he and MTV mastermind Bob Pittman concocted, Mort made Jerry Springer look like a Nelson Mandela and Rush Limbaugh sound like Fr Read on →
At eleven years-old, the most infuriating thing about trying to “apply yourself” is the universe doesn’t always cooperate. Take the situation which I'm smack in the middle of the evening of Tuesday, September 10, 1962. Blindsided by Sister Jean, Sixth Grade teacher at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic School with a very first day assignment to write 500 words all about “What I Learned This Summer,” I’m stumped. Fully…totally …and absolutely! I don't think I've written 500 words TOTAL since First Grade. And as if I don't have problems enough already, the &%$#& thing is due Friday! I can’t think of one thing I’ve learne Read on →