Political action committees linked to potential Republican presidential candidates are spending thousands to curry favor among influential and essential state parties. But will it work?
Mitt Romney’s PAC, Free & Strong America, donated $5,000 to state parties in Utah, Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire, all states in which candidates have to do well to bolster a nomination. He gave smaller amounts to parties in Ohio, which received $489, and Minnesota, a paltry $161. The Republican State Committee of Massachusetts, where Romney was governor, got the largest donation: $9,999.
And Romney’s not the only likely 2012 contender to lavish cash on key state parties. Sarah Palin’s SarahPAC, gave $5,0000 to the Republican parties in Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, Alaska, New Hampshire, Delaware and South Carolina.
Haley Barbour’s PAC, meanwhile, also donated five grand to Iowa and New Hampshire. The party in his home state of Mississippi also received $5,000. Other states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Alaska, Vermont and Minnesota, took in between $2,000 and $2,500 each from the Governor’s committee. Mike Huckabee has made similar financial gifts.
It’s obvious these and other possible candidates hope such donations will help win over state parties, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire, homes of the first caucus and primary, respectively.
But doesn’t the fact that everyone’s donating to the parties render the exercise pointless? With state Republican parties getting cash from all candidates, no preferred candidate can emerge. Everyone, from Romney to Palin, becomes just another check book.
It seems to me that these men and women would make a more memorable impact by playing hard to get, or at least relying on actual policy, not dollars and cents, to woo hearts and minds.
But, hey, keeping the state parties well-funded and efficient is how the Republican managed to win so big last November, so who cares if a candidate can’t become a favorite among state leaders, because isn’t politics all about teamwork?