Super PAC spending in Michigan and beyond

US President Barack Obama leaves after speaking during a Democratic campaign fundraiser in Bellevue, Wash., February 17, 2012. The Obama super PAC has raised far less money than its Republican counterparts.

Adriene Hill: Now to Michigan, where we'll be reporting from this week focusing on The Real Economy and what voters are thinking about as they get ready for next week's primary. One answer: TV ads. Republican presidential candidates are spending millions on the state's airwaves. But those ads are more and more often not being paid for by official campaigns but by giant political action committees -- super PACs.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.

Eve Troeh: A new funding report shows that a super PAC called "Restore Our Future" has about $16 million on hand; Mitt Romney's official campaign has less than half that. But that's no sweat to the campaign -- "Restore our Future" is run by some of Romney's former aids to support his presidential bid.

Super PAC funding cuts both ways for Romney, though. It's helped his rivals stay in the race. Anthony Corrado teaches government at Colby College.

Anthony Corrado: Without the super PAC funding, Gingrich and Santorum would've entered February with basically no fuel left in the tank. But the super PACs provided the boost that they needed to get some advertising, to keep travelling and going on the road.

The Newt Gingrich super PAC called "Winning Our Future" got $10 million from a Vegas casino mogul. Rick Santorum's backers at the Red White and Blue Fund just put $700,000 into his Michigan primary bid. Now the Obama campaign says it wants to get more from its super PAC -- much more than the $59,000 it raised last month.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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