Posted In: Election 2012, Florida, Uncategorized
On Tuesday, January 31, Mitt Romney walked away from Florida’s primary with a 15 point win over second place finisher Newt Gingrich. The win comes at an important time for Romney as his campaign seemed to be reeling from a Gingrich win in South Carolina that raised questions about Romney’s ability to run a winning campaign come November.
How did Romney, who made his fortune as the CEO of a private equity firm that bought and sold off companies piece by piece, manage to turn back the tide on Gingrich’s apparent momentum? By spending more than four times the amount Gingrich was able to muster.
Nearly $20 million were spent in the Florida primary, with $15.4 million coming from the Romney campaign and associated Super PACs, funded in large part by Wall Street high-fliers, and $3.7 million being spent in support of Newt Gingrich, much of it from a casino magnate.
More than 90 percent of all the ads funded by this influx of money were negative. By contrast, although Romney managed to outspend Gingrich two to one in South Carolina, he still lost the contest by double digits. To put this unprecedented level of primary spending into perspective, John McCain only spent $11 million on ads during the entirety of the 2008 primary season.
In a primary season that is most notable for the amount of money being raised and spent by corporate interests, the chances appear remote that a candidate without immense personal wealth (Romney’s personal worth is between $190 million to a quarter billion dollars; Gingrich is the world’s highest paid “historian,” making $25,000 a month from Freddie Mac from 1999 to 2006) and the backing of corporate sponsored Super PACs will have a real chance to compete.
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