In South Carolina this spring, Democrats played the big money game better than the GOP.
Independent liberal groups, national Democrats and influential donors spent nearly $1 million to flood the airwaves in support of Elizabeth Colbert Busch — outspending Mark Sanford’s conservative allies by more than 5-to-1.
“Outside spending done right can help push a good candidate over the finish line — but it can’t perform miracles with hostile electorates or abysmal candidates,” said Jonathan Collegio, a Republican consultant and spokesman for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads — which stayed clear of the South Carolina race.
Colbert Busch was the recipient of almost $900,000 in outside spending from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC alone.
Sanford, by contrast, was cut loose by the national Republican Party — with the National Republican Congressional Committee contributing nothing to his race following reports that he had trespassed in his ex-wife’s home. Crossroads, the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity and other top conservative groups also skipped the race.
On the traditional fundraising side the equation, Democrats also had the advantage. Between late February and mid-April, Colbert Busch out-raised Sanford significantly. She raised almost $900,000 between late February and mid-April, and $1.1 million total, according to her most recent campaign finance report. Her bid was aided by her comedian brother’s star power and a who’s who of Democratic stars who helped fundraise for her in two East Coast fundraising stops.
In the same time period, Sanford raised just under $400,000. According to his last report, Sanford raised almost $800,000 through late April — but he faced a competitive primary election, unlike Colbert Busch.