Originally published: March 17, 2012
Last updated: April 4, 2012 - 3:13pm
There has been one constant throughout the GOP campaign — Mitt Romney and the superPAC that supports him have vastly outspent his rivals. An NPR analysis of various campaign data finds a new trend is now apparent — most of the TV ads supporting Romney have been bought by that superPAC, Restore Our Future, while Romney's campaign is spending little on TV.
If you add up the numbers, the bottom line looks like this: Romney and the superPAC backing him outspent Newt Gingrich and the superPAC backing him by more than 5-to-1 in advance of the primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. They outspent Rick Santorum and his superPAC by more than 15-to-1. That's based on filings to the Federal Election Commission, and data compiled by Kantar CMAG. In Alabama the Romney campaign spent just a fraction of what Restore Our Future did on TV, and in Mississippi the Romney campaign spent no money on TV ads, while the superPAC bought $1.3 million in TV time. In effect, the Romney campaign has let Restore Our Future become its TV advertising arm.
"It's a very interesting development in how campaigns, I think, are going to be run in the future, and I think the likely outcome of what we're seeing is that the quote independent superPACs are really going to become the major mechanism of delivering TV advertising," said Donald Tobin, a campaign finance law expert at The Ohio State University. Tobin says by leaving it up to the superPAC to handle and pay for the TV ad buys, the campaign itself can focus on other things, such as paying for staff and travel, office and organizing expenses.
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