Super PACs Turning to Tennessee (Romney PAC at $1 Million Bashing Santorum in TN)

The political ad wars are coming to Tennessee, courtesy of the big money groups that are dumping millions of dollars into the GOP presidential race, reports Michael Collins.
Restore Our Future, a group backing Mitt Romney’s campaign, has bought nearly $1 million worth of radio and TV airtime for an ad blasting GOP rival Rick Santorum as “the ultimate Washington insider.” The 30-second spot began running statewide last Tuesday and will continue airing right up to Election Day on March 6.
The ad marks the first spending in Tennessee by so-called “super PACs,” the new breed of political action committees that can raise — and spend — unlimited amounts of money to influence presidential and congressional races.
More super PAC money is expected to flood into Tennessee over the next week, as the fundraising groups shift their focus to states with Super Tuesday primaries.
“None of these campaigns have a huge amount of ground forces, so the tendency is to decide what your next targets are and do sort of a blitz in the week or 10 days before a primary,” said Bruce Oppenheimer, a Vanderbilt University political science professor who studies elections.
Ohio and Tennessee are likely to be the two Super Tuesday states with the most highly contested primaries, so both will almost certainly see a lot of spending by super PACs in the coming days, Oppenheimer said.
The fact that Restore Our Future already has dumped $916,000 into Tennessee in support of Romney is a sign the state is up for grabs, Oppenheimer said.
“They are going after Tennessee in a big way, and they see that as a state they could potentially win in the South,” he said.
…This election cycle is the first in which super PACs have played a role in the presidential race, and they have been using their influence to bombard the airwaves with ads propping up or tearing down candidates.
Super PACs already have raised $126 million and spent nearly $59 million this election cycle, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that advocates more openness and transparency in government.
Right now, Restore Our Future’s anti-Santorum ad is the only super PAC ad running in Tennessee. Brittany Gross, a spokeswoman for the group, declined to say if more ads are planned.
A pro-Santorum super PAC also is considering running ads in Tennessee.
“We’ve not made that decision yet, but we’re going to have to make it very quickly,” said Stuart Roy, spokesman for the Red, White and Blue Fund.
“Generally speaking, people are up for 10 days or two weeks prior to these primaries — that has been sort of the practice — so we’re having to focus our resources on states that make the most sense, and Tennessee sure seems to make a lot of sense.”
The Red, White and Blue Fund filed a notice Friday indicating that it has spent $77,415 in Tennessee, but Roy said that money went for a direct-mail campaign.
Meanwhile, 44 Tennesseans have contributed a total of $15,722 to various super PACs, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
That figure is far below what is being collected in other states.
Texans, for example, have made $28 million in super PAC donations. In Arizona, which has a population similar to Tennessee’s, residents have given $322,000
Note: Bart Sullivan has a rundown on presidential campaign ads that have been rated for veracity by Politifact and which may be repeated in Tennessee and other Super Tuesday states.

One thought on “Super PACs Turning to Tennessee (Romney PAC at $1 Million Bashing Santorum in TN)

  1. Manuela

    almost the exact opposite, Romney wants us to beleive he is a Conservative. So we have to ask, does Romney want to be president for the sake of our nation or for the sake his his prestige?That leaves Rick Santorum (Ron Paul’s foreign policy is just too isolationist.). Of the three, only Santorum seems to have a cause that is more important to him than that guy he see in the mirror each morning when he gets ready to go out campaigning for the day.

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