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Dec 8, 2014 5:09 PM

Kevin Landrigan: Super PACS for Presidential Hopefuls-Impact on NH midterms


So you want to be elected President.
Well before you raise $100 million, you must sow the seeds of support in New Hampshire.
And what better way than to deploy your Super PAC to the mid-term elections.
Jim Merrill was the state mastermind of Restore Our Future, the wildly successful Super PAC that Mitt Romney on the road to the Republican nomination in 2012.
``The goal in these midterm elections for these presidential candidates is you to make friends, collect data and you want to raise awareness of yourself,'' Merrill said.
An NH1 investigation revealed more than $3.4 million was invested in cash to candidates, party groups and for boots on the ground.
We found there's more than one recipe for this political dish.
Let's start with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Christie decided to make six trips here and spend $3 million on the failing bid of GOP nominee for governor Walt Havenstein.
Most observers credit that cash with helping down ballot to flip the New Hampshire House from Democrat to Republican.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was the Ever Ready Bunny, making seven stops one day and cutting $60,000 in checks to candidates and parties.
It was like the model of Texas Governor Rick Perry who vowed this time to do the spade work he never made time for in 2012.
``He gave sizable donations to about 50 candidates and organizations around the state and it's really a way to help the party and to introduce himself as well,'' said Mike Dennehy, a Perry adviser and the New Hampshire architect of two, New Hampshire primary wins for John McCain.

Finally there's Hillary Clinton who's Ready for Hillary PAC had a third way. She gave the state party $10,000 but the rest of the $60,000 went into the field, planting staff in party offices, pumping out weekly e-mails and sending shuttle buses to bring voters to the polls.

Which will be the winning formula? That's the beauty of our first-in-the-primary. Only the voters get to decide and the answer is certain to surprise many.

Exclusive to NH1.Com, here's a detailed summary of the Super PAC activity as first reported on NH1 News Monday night.

LIVE FREE PAC: Republican Governors Association's NH-only PAC. Chairman: NJ Gov. Chris Christie
Spent $3.1 million, almost all of it on attack ads against Gov. Maggie Hassan and on behalf of Republican nominee Walt Havenstein.
Most observers credit Havenstein's strong showing with helping Republicans flip control of the New Hampshire House.

READY FOR HILLARY PAC: For Ex-Secretary of State and former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. About $75,000.
The group made the down payment for the state party to have a whole new voter file worth $75,000. The PAC also installed four paid staff working for the state party and committees to elect Democrats in the State Senate and House of Representatives. Finally they chartered four buses to shuttle voters to the polls on Nov. 3.

REINVENTING A NEW DIRECTION (RAND PAC): For Kentucky Senator and likely GOP candidate Rand Paul: About $60,000 spent on select checks to GOP candidates like Manchester Senate Republican candidate Phil Nazarro ($5,000), House hopefuls and local groups.

RICKPAC: For Texas Gov. and 2012 candidate Rick Perry. The group delivered more than $61,000 systematically in $500 amounts for every Senate nominee, $1,000 for every city and county GOP committee and $500 for the six, most prominent candidates or incumbents for county sheriff jobs.

O' SAY CAN YOU SEE PAC: This one benefits outgoing Maryland Gov. and potential Democratic candidate Martin O'Malley. After making three trips to the state, O'Malley gave more than $15,000 to the cause more than $5,000 of it to the Senate Democratic Caucus, $5,000 to the party and $1,000 each to Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth.

[-] FREEDOM WORKS PAC: The invention of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, this darling of the Tea Party took a special, political liking and sent more than $15,000 to Second Congressional District nominee Marilinda Garcia. She spent another $1,000 against the re-election of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.

[-] PAC FOR A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: MA Sen. Elizabeth Warren has become the darling of the ultra-liberal base of the Democratic Party and formed this PAC. She gave $10,000 to Shaheen's re-election along with $5,000 to the state party.

[-] RECLAIM AMERICA PAC: Florida Senator Marco Rubio made two trips to the state; his SuperPAC's only in-state check was for Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown who got $10,000.
Rubio did spend half a million dollars from his SuperPAC in three targeted races where the GOP took over Senate seats in Colorado, Iowa and Arkansas.


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