Super PACS continue to influence Republican race

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is hoping to pick up momentum for his campaign for president in the South Carolina primary.

Steve Chiotakis: Mitt Romney's celebrating his second win in as many state contests. But even after success in Iowa last week -- and New Hampshire last night -- the former Massachusetts governor still has plenty of competition. And even those who didn't do so well are still around, because of unlimited money coming in from independent political action committees -- called super PACS.

Marketplace Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale explains.


John Dimsdale: Despite back to back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney still faces five contenders for the GOP nomination. And that may be largely due to the money from super PACs, even though they're supposed to remain independent of political campaigns.

Larry Sabbato with the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, says unlimited financial support is why even the last place finishers in New Hampshire are staying in the race.

Larry Sabbato: You don't drop out until you run out of money. Super PACS insure that most of these candidates won't run out of money nearly as quickly as they would have in the old days when they had to depend on small, direct contributions.

Super PAC advertising has dominated the campaign so far, according to New Hampshire GOP strategist Patrick Griffin.

Patrick Griffin: The Romney super PAC literally took 20 points out of Newt Gingrich's hide in about 20 days.

Still, a single $5 million super PAC contribution has given Newt Gingrich the chance to fight back in the next primary in South Carolina.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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