The 2012 election cycle produced an unprecedented amount of political spending. The two major parties lended their monetary support to maximize the advertisement of their hopeful candidates. The Republican party experienced a lack of bang-for-the-buck having lost several contests including the presidency. Less than stellar election results leave Republican donors unhappy with the performance of their campaigns.
Big GOP donors are likely upset with the performance of the party on Tuesday. The largest single donor of the 2012 election season, Sheldon Adelson, saw the lowest “return on investment.” He spent a minimum of $60 million on Republican candidates, around $20 million of which was given to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Adelson’s expenditures supported eight GOP campaigns that lost including Governor Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency. Adelson began spending during the Republican primary race supporting a failed candidacy for Newt Gingrich.
Forward.com noted four of the most prominent Adelson-backed candidates that lost:
In Virginia, Tim Kaine won the governorship over George Allen, whose super PAC had received $1.5 million from Adelson.
In Florida, Bill Nelson won the Senate seat over Connie Mack, who Adelson had backed with $1 million.
In New Jersey, Adelson-backed Orthodox Jewish Republican Shmuley Boteach lost to Democratic incumbent Congressman Bill Pascrell.
In Florida’s 18th Congressional District, Adelson-backed Republican Allen West narrowly trailed Democrat Patrick Murphy, who was declared the winner by news organizations.
Karl Rove is a co-founder of American Crossroads, a conservative-based super PAC. American Crossroads spent a total of $104.7 million during the general election. Of that money spent, 1.29-percent was spent successfully through the support of Mark Amodei in a House race in Nevada’s second district. The remainder was spent opposing winning candidates, including Barack Obama. Amodei was the only wnner on Tuesday supported by the Rove super PAC.
Politico quoted Stan Hubbard, a large donor of American Crossroads PAC, saying, “Obviously, somebody made a mistake and didn’t do things right. There’s no question about that.”
Karl Rove criticized President Obama’s campaign tactics by claiming he “suppressed votes.” Rove’s logic is that the slew of negative advertising directed at Governor Romney pushed voters to not vote for him. Suffice it to say, the Romney campaign is equally guilty of heavy negative advertising.
It’s hard to tell if the large amount of money spent on Republican campaigning kept races close or failed to move votes in their favor. Perhaps the electorate is moved by the demeanor of a few party members that cause emotional stirs against them. Members within the Republican party are calling for change in their message and how to interact with voters. Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio commented on refocusing the GOP’s message:
The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them.
American Crossroads and the affiliated Crossroads GPS raised around $300 million for the entire election cycle. Donald Trump was vocal about the inefficiency of Karl Rove’s super PAC expenditures:
The overall result of the 2012 election leaves Republican donors unhappy, considering the incompetent “return on investment.” The party’s notable figures aren’t sweeping the issue of wasted money under the rug.
Party members may be more careful of insensitivity in comments considering both Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch lost their elections in generally Republican regions. The results could be a factor in the party shifting it’s approach to voters in future contests. Consultants may be subject to a higher level of scrutiny in the future when negative ads and generic messages of prosperity don’t resonate with voters.
A total of about $6 billion was spent on this election season for every race that took place. The total includes all races the Romney campaign spent $1.2 billion total and the Obama campaign spent $1 billion. Totals for expenditures include those made directly by campaigns and those made by political action committees.
Open Secrets has recorded the top overall donors for the 2012 election season with a partisan breakdown.