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Super Tuesday: What Romney, Santorum and Co. spent to get here

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amny Photo Credit: CNN debate/Getty

The road to Super Tuesday is expensive – but for this year's candidates, it was paved with money from super PACs.

Data released by campaign media analysis group Kantar Media/CMAG shows candidate spending on ads has dropped 40% since the 2008 GOP primaries. As of Feb. 26, the candidates had spent $17 million, a substantial drop considering the spending in the 2008 GOP primaries had reached $48.7 million by just Jan. 25.

For the first time in election history, candidates are being mostly funded by entities other than the candidates’ own campaigns – super PACs.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) that the government would be unable to ban independent political spending in elections. And the super PAC was born.

A political action committee, super PACs have the ability to influence elections with unlimited donations from corporations, unions and other organizations, but the money must be spent independently of a candidate and without any type of coordination. There is no established fine for offenders, however, if coordination between the two parties does take place, the FEC will determine a suitable punishment.

The addition of super PACs to campaigns has “taken all the rules and thrown them out the window,” said Democrat Political Consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

“It’s an alternative for large donors. The stakes are high and there are wealthy donors who want to have some say in the outcome,” said Costas Panagopoulos, associate professor of Political Science at Fordham University.

Still, the effectiveness of super PACs isn't proven. Trends show Florida was the only primary in which the candidate supported by the highest-spending super PAC actually won. And Rick Santorum’s campaign has seen the least pro-super PAC spending, yet he has 92 delegates, second only to Mitt Romney’s big lead with 203.

“Santorum’s campaign offers a good example that higher spending on advertising does not always gain the voter’s attention,” said Adam Bonica, an assistant professor of Politcal Science at Stanford University.

That’s not to say super PAC money doesn’t pay.

The super PAC Restore Our Future has spent about $31 million in support of Romney, widely seen as the inevitable nominee.

As to what role super PACs will play in the general election, both Sheinkopf and Panagopoulos said the spending will continue.

“At the end of the day, independent citizens only have one vote, but the wealthy have this option to influence the process,” said Panagopoulos.

But regardless of how much or little super PACs truly influence elections, Sheinkopf thinks eventually sentiment toward them ultimately hurt the candidates the committees support.

“The public will revolt," Sheinkopf said, "because the candidates will see dollar bills as opposed to issues."

(with Tim Herrera)

***

Total spending so far per candidate:

Mitt Romney: $63,650,764
Ron Paul: $31,083,281
Rick Perry: $20,498,329
Newt Gingrich: $18,320,430

(Via)

***

Breakdown of Cost Per Vote for each candidate by primary:

Iowa – Won by Santorum

Cost per vote, by candidate:

- Perry: $480.67 (D: $4,532,396; sPAC: $1,503,309; T: $6,035,705)
- Romney: $156.53 (D: $1,471,104.66; sPAC: $2,735,258; O: $458,980 T: $4,665,342.66)
- Paul: $103.30 (D: $2,717,416; sPAC: $0; T: $2,717,416)
- Gingrich: $91.71 (D: $1,008,390; sPAC: $278,223; Other: $195,620 T: $1,482,233)
- Santorum: $20.70 (D: $21,980; sPAC: $89,325; Other: $506,435; T: $617,740)
- Bachmann: $3.95 (Direct spending: $24,135; super PAC spending: $0; Total spending: 24,135)

- Super PAC total: $4,606,115
- Candidate total: $9,775,421.66

(Via)

New Hampshire – Won by Romney

CPV:

- Huntsman: $37.65
- Perry: $62.11
- Paul: $26.10
- Romney: $11.51
- Gingrich: $0.52
- Santorum: $0

- Total advertising spent: ~$3.6 million

(Via)

South Carolina – Won by Gingrich

CPV:

- Romney: $26.30 (D: $1,900,000; sPAC: $2,500,000; T: $4,400,000)
- Gingrich: $9.87 (D: $640,000; sPAC: $1,760,000; T: $2,400,000)
- Santorum: $7.25 (D: $370,000; sPAC: $370,000; T: $740,000)
- Paul: $7.05 (D: $460,000; sPAC: $90,000; T: $550,000)

- super PAC total: $4,720,000
- Direct spending total: $3,370,000


(Via)


Florida – Won by Romney

CPV:

- Romney: $20.05 (D: $6,723,288; sPAC: $8,815,227; T: $15,538,515)
- Gingrich: $6.15 (D: $1,112,541; sPAC: $2,164,727; T: $3,277,268)
- Paul: $0
- Santorum: $0

- Super PAC total: $10,979,959
- Candidate total: $7,835,829

(Via)

Nevada – Won by Romney

CPV:

- Paul: $145.21 (D: $896,650; sPAC: $0; T:$896,650)
- Romney: $34.07 (D: $488,460; sPAC: $73,240; T: $561,700)
- Gingrich: $0
- Santorum: $0

- super PAC total: $73,240
- cCndidate total: $1,385,110

(Via)


Minnesota (Santorum), Colorado (Santorum) and Maine (Romney) saw less than $430,000 total spent from all candidates combined (direct and super PAC).


Michigan – Won by Romney

CPV:

- Romney: $10.41 (D: $1,500,000; sPAC: 2,300,000; T: $4,270,000)
- Santorum: $6.10 (D: $882,000; sPAC: $1,300,000; T: $2,100,000)
(Gingrich and Santorum did not compete)

Arizona – Won by Romney

CPV:

- Romney: $3 (D: $0; sPAC: $657,000; T: $657,000)
- Santorum: 42 cents (D: $52,000; sPAC: $0); T: $52,000)
(Gingrich and Santorum did not compete)

(Via)

*All numbers approximate

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