Posted: March 13th, 2012
Television advertisements in Alabama and Mississippi aiding Republican presidential contenders have been paid for almost exclusively by independent political action committees rather than the candidates’ campaigns.
So-called Super-PACs supplied 91 percent of the 5,592 campaign ads that aired on broadcast television stations in the two states in the past 30 days, according to data from New York- based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.
Alabama and Mississippi hold primary elections tomorrow, and polls indicate a close race in each among former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Super-PACs are dominating the spending on television because they can collect unlimited contributions and replenish their treasuries more easily than candidate committees, which are limited to raising $2,500 per donor for the primaries.
Super-PACs are “providing the campaign advertising that the candidates can’t afford,” Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, said in a podcast March 9 on the website of the Brookings Institution, a research center in Washington.
Restore Our Future, a super-PAC backing Romney, aired ads 2,098 times in Alabama, compared with 279 spots from Romney’s campaign, according to CMAG.
Winning Our Future, which supports Gingrich, aired ads 411 times in Alabama, compared with 131 ads by Gingrich’s campaign. Santorum’s campaign hasn’t aired broadcast ads in Alabama; the Red White and Blue Fund that backs him aired ads 282 times.