You know what they say: close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Close doesn’t mean a thing in multimillion-dollar presidential elections. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to those behind the nation’s largest GOP super PACs. Some of those “PAC men” are using the close race to justify the hundreds of millions spent on the 2012 election.
The two largest GOP super PACs, Restore our Future and American Crossroads, came up empty despite spending $200 million supporting Mitt Romney and opposing Barack Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
For American Crossroads, the losing streak extended to Senate races as well. Of the nine Senate races in which the super PAC invested heavily, it lost seven of them: Florida, Montana, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Mexico and Missouri.
Those losses cost a combined $11 million. The only bright spot for Crossroads: Republican victories in Nevada (Dean Heller) and Nebraska (Deb Fischer).
On The Daily Rundown Wednesday, Crossroad’s spokesman Jonathan Collegio was asked whether all the expense was worth it. Collegio said the races could have been blowouts without the groups. “What Democrats did this election, extremely effectively, was leverage their incumbencies to have huge financial advantages over their Republican opponents. We believe that American Crossroads, by evening out the playing field, ended up keeping this what was essentially a two point race in the end.”
Bill Burton, head of the Pro-Obama Super Pac Priorities USA and former White House Deputy Press Secretary , said Republicans may have suffered by having too much money and having a candidate who didn’t have clear direction. “The one problem with Crossroads’ effectiveness I think was that they were supporting a candidate who did not give a clear sense on what his message was or where he wanted to bring things,” said Burton.
Burton points out that the campaign never responded to ads hitting Mitt Romney on his time at Bain Capital, saying Romney never got the defense of his business experience that he needed and that American Crossroads could have provided.