GOP Group Donors Keeping Wallets Shut As 2014 Nears
Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 19, 2013
Even as the Republicans and their media allies are trying to make pitiful hay on the healthcare.gov website (whose ease of usage has already vastly improved since it opened at the start of the Republican shutdown last month), their biggest institutional backers are still sitting on their wallets for 2014:
The biggest Republican-leaning money machines are spending dramatically less this year to help the party ahead of the 2014 Senate elections, two years after millions of dollars in early advertising by outside groups against Democrats backfired in embarrassing losses in otherwise winnable races.
Groups such as American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce no longer are willing to risk major investments on hard-line conservatives who embarrassed GOP leaders last fall and rattled the confidence of party donors. Many remain concerned after last month’s government shutdown highlighted Republican divisions.
“Is the malaise still there? Yes,” said Lisa Wagner, a Republican fundraiser in the Chicago area. “But they are nervous about giving in light of the shutdown.”
Outside spending on television ads designed to benefit Republican Senate candidates is down almost 60 percent compared with two years ago, according to spending reports provided to The Associated Press. There are signs that the shift is shaping the national fight for the Senate majority.
The elections are a year away, but the slow start on the Republican side means that vulnerable Democrats haven’t had to devote substantial time or resources defending themselves from criticism. Instead, Democrats have been able to stockpile cash ahead of what probably will be nasty and expensive general elections.
What’s interesting is that even as the usual Republican donors are sitting on the sidelines, the Tea Party types — including the Kochs — are rushing in to dump money on unelectable candidates, setting up a replay of 2012 where the Republicans lost their shot at the Senate because of the Teabaggers that won their primaries and then got slaughtered in the general election:
But for now, establishment-minded groups such as Crossroads have been slow to act, and their absence has caught the tea party’s attention. It’s using the vacuum to strengthen its influence while recruiting like-minded candidates.
“Establishment donors are unhappy. They spent a lot of money and didn’t do well,” said Sal Russo, the Tea Party Express political director.
“We’ve been busy,” he added, noting that his organization has interviewed more than 60 candidates this year across 17 states.
The tug of war between such groups isn’t helping Republicans unify around strong candidates.
Iowa’s Senate contest should be a promising pickup opportunity for Republicans. But some candidates in the crowded field have little proven campaign experience.
Outside spending can be helpful but doesn’t always mean success.
Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, saturated Iowa mailboxes and telephone lines recently to support conservative city council candidates. But they all lost.
Proof that the Kochs don’t always win.
And just think how bad it will be when the Suicide Caucusers shut down the government again in February.
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