Crippled by the Loss of a Major Campaign Funder, Gingrich Becomes an Example of Money in Politics
When the 2012 presidential campaign is gone and largely forgotten, historians are obviously going to focus on the advent of Super-PACs as a game-changing factor in the nomination process (and potentially the general election). But we are seeing a chapter written right now in the spectacle of the collapse of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid the moment Sheldon Edelson and his family stopped sending him multi-million dollar checks. Here’s a quick summary of Newt Without Edelson from the New York Times’ Trip Gabriel:
In a memorandum on Jan. 30, Martin Baker, Mr. Gingrich’s national political director, wrote that because of “overwhelming support” after South Carolina, “the Gingrich campaign is now in a position where we will be able to respond to Romney’s ads in every state moving forward.”
But that promise appears to have quickly faded. The campaign did not run any advertisements after the Florida primary — in Nevada or elsewhere — according to Kantar Media.
Much of Mr. Gingrich’s four days in Nevada ahead of the caucuses there were spent seeking donors.
Now, reports Gabriel, in the runup to two crucial primaries on February 28 and then the multi-state events of Super Tuesday (March 6), Gingrich is spending much of his time in—California, which doesn’t hold its primary until June. And it’s all about fundraising:
He will be largely out of sight for part of this week, just as he was in the days before last week’s contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, which Rick Santorum won, and before the Feb. 4 caucuses in Nevada, which Mitt Romney won. Even as he sacrifices time in front of voters, his prospects of raising the cash he needs are uncertain.
“Unless your name is Mitt Romney, raising money in this political environment is like trying to hit a bullet with another bullet while riding a horse,” said Ron Nehring, a former chairman of the California Republican Party.
Rick Perry’s tried to help him with his old network of bundlers, and Newt has had some success with internet-based small donor contributions in the past—though that kind of money is now flowing to Rick Santorum. So Newt’s roaming ever farther from the states where his campaign must eventually find traction—and where he might gain “earned media” from public appearances. Unless Edelson reopens the family checkbook, that’s how the long strange saga of Gingrich ‘12 will end: far from the spotlight he craves.