Palin's Donation Strategy and Romney's: The Tea Party Surge versus the 2012 Surge

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 29 2010 1:28 PM

Palin's Donation Strategy and Romney's: The Tea Party Surge versus the 2012 Surge

The final pre-election donations made by Sarah Palin's SarahPAC and Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC are on the FEC's site now. I'm focusing right now on the 11th hour donations the PACs made in October.

To generalize a bit, Romney's donations were alternately strategic, focused on Massachusetts and 2012 states, or big tent. He gave $2500 to Massachusetts's Sean Bielat ($5000 total for him), Bill Gunn, Bill Hudak, Vern Harrison, Jon Golnik, Gerry Dembrowski, all congressional candidates who lost. At the same time, he gave $5000 to New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne on October 4, 2010. Why is that significant? The New Hampshire primary had happened three weeks earlier, and Lamontagne lost to Kelly Ayotte, whom Romney had maxed out to. Lamontagne had just signaled that he'd remain a force in the state. Also significant: Romney gave $2,500 in October to Anh Cao, the one Republican who voted for the health care bill (the first version that passed the House in November).


Palin's donations don't look anything like this. In October, SarahPAC opened up for 18 House candidates. Twelve of them won. Two -- Arizona's Ruth McClung and Utah's Morgan Philpot -- almost scored upsets. One of them, Mississippi's Bill Marcy, was a black Republican in a hopeless race against Bennie Thompson in Mississippi's safest Democratic district. The full list:

$5,000 to Michigan's Dan Benishek
$5,000 to Arizona's Janet Contreras
$5,000 to North Carolina's Renee Ellmers
$5,000 to Virginia's Keith Fimian
$5,000 to Tennessee's David Hall
$1,500 to Arkansas's Tim Griffin ($5,000 total)
$5,000 to Missouri's Vicky Hartzler
$5,000 to Pennsylvania's Mike Kelly
$5,000 to Virginia's Robert Hurt
$5,000 to Illinois's Adam Kinzinger
$5,000 to Mississippi's Bill Marcy
$5,000 to Arizona's Ruth McClung
$5,000 to Georgia's Ray McKinney
$1,500 to South Carolina's Mick Mulvaney ($5,000 total)
$5,000 to Mississippi's Alan Nunalee
$5,000 to Utah's Morgan Philpot
$1,500 to Ohio's Jim Renacci ($5,000 total)
$5,000 to Alabama's Martha Roby

It's actually tough to see a strategy in the Palin donations. They match up neatly with the lists of candidates Tea Partiers embraced at the end of the cycle. Maybe that was the strategy.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Business Insider
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How One Entrepreneur Is Transforming Blood Testing
Oct. 1 2014 11:59 AM Ask a Homo: A Lesbian PDA FAQ
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 12:26 PM Where Do I Start With Leonard Cohen?
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.