WSJ: Primary Battles Hurt GOP Super PAC Campaign Finances

Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 08:30 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Republican super PACs will be hurting for cash ahead of the midterm elections after spending big in primaries while Democratic super PACs still have bundles of bucks in the bank, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The largest GOP super PACs raised considerably less than their Democratic counterparts and spent much greater chunks of money on tight GOP primary races, an analysis by the Journal indicated.

For the period ending July 3, Republican super PACs in the research forked out more than 70 percent of their expenditures on races between GOP rivals while the Democratic super PACs splashed out just 9 percent of their resources on primaries.

The result is that the largest Democratic super PACs in the Journal study are ramping up for the general election in November with a total of $36 million cash in hand, almost three times as much as the biggest Republican political action committees.

On the GOP side, according to the newspaper, the super PAC Club for Growth Action spent $5.1 million on primaries and only $900,000 on the midterms, as of July 3. American Crossroads spent $2.6 million on primaries and $2.4 million on the general election. The Ending Spending Action Fund coughed up $2.5 million on primaries and just $300,000 on November’s battles.

On the Democratic side, the Journal said, the Senate Majority PAC spent nothing on the primaries, and $17.2 million on the midterms. The House Majority PAC also didn’t spend a penny on the primaries, but $3.9 million for the general election. Independence USA PAC spent $2.3 million for primaries, and $700,000 for the November elections.

The Journal said that the analysis does not tell the whole story because it fails to include certain non-profits, such as the conservative American for Prosperity and the liberal Patriot Majority, which tend to spend vast sums on primary races and general elections.

Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch, has vowed to spend $125 million in the run-up to November when the GOP hopes to overturn the 55-45 Democratic majority in the Senate.

Thomas Mann, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, told the Journal that the GOP spent far more money than Democrats because of the differences between the tea party faction and moderate Republicans.

He added that the successful fundraising efforts of the Democrats are mainly due to the fact that they are desperate to safeguard vulnerable candidates while hanging onto the Senate. "If they lose the Senate, it will not be because they have been greatly outspent," he said.

Overall, Democratic super PACs in the study raised $82 million in the current election cycle, according to their most recent filings, while the largest GOP committees raised $47 million, the Journal said.

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