In an effort to cultivate relationships in the crucial early primary states, potential Republican presidential candidates have directed a majority of their giving to individuals and political groups in Iowa and New Hampshire, a new report finds.
According to a Center for Public Integrity
(CPI) analysis of federal campaign finance filings for 2013 and 2014, six of the more high-profile political action committees launched by potential candidates collectively donated $340,000 — about 25 percent of their overall contributions — to nearly 100 beneficiaries in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Those candidates were: Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, as well as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
Just how significant those contributions are can be placed in perspective when contrasted with the $100,000 their committees gave to politicians and groups in their respective home states, CPI said.
"They use their PACs to lay the groundwork for possible campaigns and cultivate relationships on the ground with state officials and party activists long before they officially launch presidential bids.
"That means people like Paul, a senator elected to represent Kentucky voters, are spending huge amounts of attention on Iowa, New Hampshire and other states far from their constituents," writes CPI's Michael Beckel.
Cruz's PAC directed nearly one-third of its total contributions — or $70,000 — to Granite and Hawkeye State candidates and political groups, while Perry's PAC gave nearly 95 percent of its $98,000 in political donations to politicians from those states.
"For prospective presidential candidates, these are the allies you want. Winning the nomination means winning a series of political contests in unfamiliar territory — other states that a candidate may never have had a reason to visit. The locals know the territory," said Hans Noel, an associate professor at Georgetown University, in an email to The New York Times
Republican candidates are not alone in steering their contributions to early primary states.
Ready for Hillary PAC, the independent committee laying the groundwork for a potential Hillary Clinton campaign, donated to eight New Hampshire committees in late October and also contributed $75,000 to six candidates running in Iowa, according to The Times report.
In addition to directing contributions toward Iowa and New Hampshire interests, the prospective candidates are actively engaged in a battle to lure key campaign strategists and staff.
"There is a known universe of operatives with many of them headquartered in early primary states. Right now I think the contest is focused on all the candidates trying to go after that universe of staffers," Republican strategist Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, tells Reuters
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