GOP Candidates Set for Spending Binge

Monday, 21 Nov 2011 02:32 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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Campaign spending in the Republican presidential race hasn’t amounted to much so far, as candidates have relied on the debates and free media coverage to get their message out. But with only six weeks left before the Iowa caucuses, the candidates who are lucky enough to have money will soon be spending it, Politico says.

They will be buying television ads, distributing campaign literature, and spending on campaign infrastructure. Super PACs and outside interest groups will be laying out their greenbacks, too.

The spending pace so far hasn’t matched that of 2008. At the end of the third quarter of 2007, the top three Republican candidates — Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain — had spent more than $100 million combined. But at the same point this year, Romney had spent less than $18 million, and no one else was even close.

But get ready for the ramp-up.

“I think you’re going to see a couple people hitting it pretty hard,” Republican pollster Ed Goeas, a former Michele Bachmann adviser, told Politico. “Everyone kind of came into this process wanting to manage their money and their spending, with a few exceptions. They’re going to work back from election day. They’re not going to be spending like it’s going to be that way for the next two months.”

Romney and Rick Perry are clearly the candidates with the most money to spend – about $15 million cash in hand for each as of Sept. 30. Herman Cain and Ron Paul appear to have enough to make a difference, too.

Paul had $3.7 million as of Sept. 30. And although Cain had only $1.3 million then, his campaign claims he has pulled in $9 million from supporters angered by the sexual harassment accusations against him. Jon Huntsman has significant campaign debt, but his dad is a billionaire, so his resources potentially are plentiful.

Newt Gingrich says money is starting to flow to his campaign, but he has a big debt, so it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do much spending. Bachmann is heavily in debt, too, and Rick Santorum has hardly any cash.

Romney has been keeping his powder dry. Although he has a big campaign staff, he hasn’t bought any TV or radio ads yet. And he hasn’t spent as much on mailers as in 2008.

In 2008, the low-budget Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, as the well-financed candidates beat each other up. But the dynamic isn’t as friendly to the poor candidates this time around. They’re the ones beating up on each other, which might allow for Romney to be the beneficiary.

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