Behind the Big-Money Romney Win in Florida
Mitt Romney’s decisive victory over Newt Gingrich in the Florida GOP primary race carries with it some harsh truths concerning the American political process today. First and foremost is the money-factor, as in the following facts:
- According to NBC, the Romney super PAC , Restore Our Future had raised $17.9 million dollars as of the end of December, with millions more being pumped in during the month of January.
- The big money donors who gave the Romney PAC over 1 million include billionaire Elliot Management hedge fund chief Pat Singer, along with other hedge fund heavyweights, Julian Robertson of Tiger Management and Robert Mercer of Rennaissance Technologies. Also handing out million-dollar donations to the Romney PAC were Florida Energy mogul Bill Koch of Oxbow Carbon, Miguel Fernandez of MBF Healthcare Partners, and Rooney Holdings of Tulsa Oklahoma. Three executives from Bain Capital also chipped in a total of $625 grand.
- As of last week, CSM had the Romney PAC outspending all others by a 20-1 margin in Florida. The majority of that cash went towards attack ads against Newt Gingrich after he surprisingly stomped Mitt Romney in the S.C. Primary.
Next up, there is the fact that in a time where many people seeing a strong demand for a more conservative President in 2013, Mitt Romney doesn’t quite fit the bill:
According to ABC News, “Yet, while the result pulled Romney back to his strong New Hampshire showing, there was enough in the results to give Newt Gingrich a continued source of ammunition. A substantial 41 percent of Florida voters described Romney’s positions on the issues as “not conservative enough”; among all non-Romney voters, 67 percent said so. Gingrich, indeed, won “very” conservative voters by 42-30 percent, won the strongest anti-abortion voters by 15 points and won strong supporters of the Tea Party political movement – more than a third of all Florida primary voters – by 12 points
Finally there remains the fact that the overall “non-Romney vote,” which would factor into the overall results should certain failing candidates decide to drop out of the race, forcing people to choose between the moderate Romney or the conservative Gingrich is very high. Richard Miniter points this about the battle between Romney and the non-Romney vote: (emphasis added)
“Meanwhile, Romney’s heavily negative advertising only drives Tea Party activists and other conservatives from one non-Romney candidate to another. Divide and conquer is a storied strategy; it may well work in Florida. But it doesn’t build votes for Romney. The non-Romney vote–despite millions of dollars, months of media coverage and dozens of debates—remains stubbornly north of 60% among Republican voters. If Romney is going to defeat Obama, he will have to unite the Grand Old Party behind him. So far, there is no evidence is any state that he can do just that.
Now that Florida is settled, and Mitt Romney will garner 50 delegates from the winner-take-all primary, yet with Newt Gingrich pledging to battle right up to the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida, the 2012 GOP nomination for president is far from over.