Iowa political spending tops $10M for December alone


Candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and PACs that have been either supporting or attacking candidates have been pulling out all the stops in Iowa in advance of the 1/3/12 caucuses. According to the Des Moines Register, spending has topped the $10M mark.

Among candidates, Rick Perry is the biggest spender, dropping about $2.86M into television advertising. That expenditure is all but matched, however, by a PAC acting on behalf of Mitt Romney, which has pumped $2.85M into the Iowa air wars.

Ron Paul comes in a distant third with $1.37M worth of advertising, which is closely followed by a pro-Perry PAC, with $1.33M in expenditures, and the Romney campaign, which has spent $1.1M.

The campaign of Newt Gingrich hasn’t quite reached the half million mark, according to the study, coming home at $476K.

The DMR report did not cite any figures for the other two prominent candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

RBR-TVBR observation: In our analysis, the Iowa caucuses are not quite in the make-or-break category. While a win can be a major shot in the arm for any one of the candidates, the event is seen as a referendum on performance before the more conservative wing of the Republican Party. Ground lost here could potentially be made up shortly in South Carolina.

For a candidate hoping to become the standard bearer for conservatives, poor performances in both states may mean the end of the road. So we would be surprised if candidates seeking that role leave much in the warchest. The goal will likely be to consolidate support of conservatives, even if it means an empty bank account, and raise campaign cash from that position going forward.