It’s been a month and a half since we last checked in on outside spending for the 2016 election. In that time, it’s grown by 50 percent — nearly $100 million dollars.
By this time in 2012, outside spending was a third of what it is today, or $103,016,139.
Since Feb. 12, the date of our post showing outside groups’ spending was homing in on $200 million, 103 different outside money groups have spent $91.3 million. Conservative Solutions PAC, the single-candidate super PAC that supported former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, spent by far the most of this lot — $27.8 million, likely in a last-ditch effort to save his campaign before he dropped out of the contest on March 16. Next in line was Our Principles PAC, which in the last six weeks has spent more $10 million of the total $13.1 million it has spent this cycle opposing Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
Also hitting the gas pedal hard was American Future Fund, a group that was once tied to the Koch brothers; it has paid out $6.5 million of its total $8.6 million in 2015-2016 spending since mid-February; it too has spent most of its money opposing Trump. The group has also run ads against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) — the two other surviving GOP White House hopefuls — this cycle.
Since our last story, nine brand-new groups have popped up, spending a combined $2.8 million. The biggest spender of these newbies is Trusted Leadership PAC, created to rally Republicans behind Cruz; it accounts for $1.9 million of the total. The super PAC announced March 10 that Cruz’s former chief of staff, Chip Roy, had joined as its executive director. Right Way Initiative, whose chairman is lobbyist Michael Baroody, was also created in the last month and has spent $703,492 on ads, most of which support Tim Derickson’s bid to win the open House seat in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District.