The electoral arms race is only going to accelerate in 2012 with Republican super PACs and non-profits adopting electoral tactics honed by Democratic groups in recent years. Fred Barnes, writing in the Wall Street Journal, explains the thinking behind the Karl Rove-linked super PAC American Crossroads and the coalition of like-minded groups working with them. These groups--Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity, American Action Network, etc.--have combined together to work on blunting the $750 million to $1 billion that President Obama could spend on his reelection.
The key idea is the need to create a permanent non-party electoral infrastructure, centered around the Bush fundraising apparatus, to counter the money used by labor unions to fund a variety of liberal causes. The apparatus would consist of the already existing conservative groups playing a role in elections today. Instead of playing on their own, they will pool their resources.
"[American Crossroads] is part of the Weaver Terrace Group, named for the location of [Karl] Rove's residence (although he's since moved) where two dozen groups gathered last year to share their plans for the midterm election. Now they convene monthly in [American Crossroads President Steven] Law's office in downtown Washington," Barnes writes. [WSJ]
In Republican primary tradition, candidates are filling their Iowa ads with images of crosses and other Christian religious iconography to appeal to the state party's large evangelical population. [NYT]
Sen. Scott Brown condemns ads by outside groups in his Massachusetts Senate race and calls on his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, to join him in calling for the ads to come down off the air, "I challenge her, actually, to tell, to come out publicly like I have and say take them down."
A non-profit group, Citizens for a Working America, Inc., affiliated with a super PAC, Citizens for a Working America PAC, that had backed Michele Bachmann in her bid for the presidency is now backing Mitt Romney with a nearly $500,000 ad buy in Iowa. The pro-Bachmann elements of the super PAC left the group awhile ago.
Super PACs fuel the negative turn in advertising. [WaPo]
A pro-Gingrich super PAC mailer labels Romney, "The second most dangerous man in America." [NBC]
Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committee: Newt Gingrich for President
Spot: "Main Street" -- Gingrich talks to the camera about his plan to create jobs in America. First, say 'baloney' anytime you hear someone say that high unemployment is the new normal. The other planks to Gingrich's platform include his stump speech basics: low taxes, help small business, and "[unleash] the power of our energy industry."
Committee: Red White And Blue Fund
Candidate supported: Rick Santorum
Spot: "Main Street" -- Rick Santorum is a "real conservative that America can trust," according to the second ad from this pro-Santorum super PAC. The ad calls Santorum a "resolute leader" against "radical Islam," a "dedicated defender" of pro-life policies, and a "courageous reformer" in Congress.
Buy: Part of a $125,000 buy.
Committee: Ron Paul for President
Spot: "Washington Machine" -- This ad from the Paul campaign rages against Washington as "strangling our economy." The ad states that Gingrich, "a serial hypocrite," and Romney, "a flip-flopper," aren't the men to fix the problem. Ron Paul, however, is "the one we've been looking for."
Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Spot: "Davenport, Four Years Later" -- Romney, with one foot in the general election door, cuts this web video responding to a speech given by President Obama in Davenport, Iowa during his campaign for the presidency in 2007. The video overlays stats of unemployment with soaring rhetoric from Obama in 2007 and ends with a Romney speech stating, "It's time for this pessimistic president to step aside and let American optimism that built this greatest nation on Earth build a greater future for our children."
Buy: None. Just a web video.
TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:
These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate for the presidency in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.
Rick Perry (R), $3,798,524 to support, $0 to oppose.
Newt Gingrich (R), $266,323 to support, $2,601,770 to oppose.
Jon Huntsman (R), $1,864,956 to support, $0 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $475,000 to support, $329,473 to oppose. (+$475,000)
Herman Cain (R), $462,217 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $0 to support, $417,919 to oppose. (+$43,438)
Rick Santorum (R), $325,950 to support, $0 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.
RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES
Citizens for a Working America Inc., $475,000 to support Mitt Romney for president.
FreedomWorks For America, $43,438 to oppose Barack Obama for president.
RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS
Independent Pharmacy Cooperative PAC, Sun Prairie, Wisc., Treasurer: Chuck Benjamin.
Liberation RDC Cause, Westerville, Ohio, Treasurer: Zamda Lumbi.
Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at email@example.com.