GOP Contenders

Biggest war chest not necessarily deciding primaries

David Gura Feb 8, 2012

Rick Santorum has raised a little more than $2 million in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has raised more than 28 times that: $57 million.

According to Merle Black, who teaches politics at Emory University, “money helps, but money’s not everything. It’s how the money’s used.”

In Florida, Romney spent a lot of that money on negative ads, going after the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. The super PAC that backs Romney also spent a lot of money in the Sunshine State.

That strategy may have backfired. “It may very well be that Romney’s got too much money, too many advisors,” says Black. “And you know, if the voters don’t like it, then it doesn’t matter how much money they have.”

Thomas Mann, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, says what does matter is electability, and the potential to beat President Obama, in November.

“That’s a factor that will come back to pose difficulties for [Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul] as the nomination contest proceeds,” Mann points out. In addition to money, that’s one thing that Romney does have going for him.

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