It's less than two months before before the official start to the primary season, and the countdown can be measured in super PAC ad buys. As the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses creep closer, the buys get bigger and more prolific.
But absent from the ads flooding the airwaves are spots from two super PACs that earlier in the campaign aligned with Rep. Michele Bachmann.
"This is really kind of a pivotal month as voters are just starting to tune in and make their final decisions about who they want to go with," said Jason Miller, a spokesman for Make Us Great Again, a political action committee that is backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Super PACs are money-raising powerhouses. They can collect and spend unlimited amounts of cash in favor of a specific candidate, so long as they don't coordinate advertising efforts with the candidate's campaign.
They provide another way for very wealthy donors to support their favorite politicos. Contributors who hit donation limits for a candidate's committee can write massive checks for an unaffiliated super PAC. So, in most cases, a super PAC's earning power reflects a candidate's earning power.
The dollar figures for the latest round of ad buys are substantial.
Our Destiny PAC, which has aligned with Jon Huntsman, recently dropped $1.45 million to air this television spot in New Hampshire. (There's widespread speculation that the ad buy is, in part, supported by Huntsman's father.)
Meanwhile, super PACs supporting President Barack Obama and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have been touting web ads. A spokeswoman for the Mitt Romney-affiliated Restore Our Future PAC said that it hasn't done any advertising yet, but to "stay tuned."
Keep Conservatives United hasn't launched ads since September, when the group posted a series of spots on its website attacking Perry. Then, the Texas governor appeared to be Bachmann's biggest rival. Since then he has fallen in the polls.
Bob Harris, who leads the operation, says that fundraising has been "OK," and that he's hoping to launch ads in Iowa - a state that Bachmann has made a priority - closer to the caucuses.
If they can, the ads will highlight the message that Bachmann is " the last conservative in the race," Harris said - a message Bachmann has been touting herself.
For its part, Citizens for a Working America remains a bit of a mystery, and calls to members of the group were not returned.
The group, which played an important role in defeating long-time South Carolina Democratic Rep. John Spratt in the 2010 election, includes Bachmann adviser Ed Brookover as one of its organizers.
But so far the PAC has done no advertising for Bachmann in Iowa, South Carolina or New Hampshire. It has no website, and its chair, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, has endorsed Perry.
And because Federal Election Commission fundraising deadlines aren't until January, it's unclear if the group is - or ever did -fundraising in support of Bachmann.
Senate President Michelle Fischbach and House Speaker Kurt Zellers are among 21 new members of GOPAC's 2012 Legislative Leaders Advisory Board.
The group will "work to help promote Americans' need for lower taxes, fiscal discipline and job growth," said GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli. "Each Board Member was selected because of their strong leadership in promoting conservative ideas and assisting Republican candidates with getting elected. Their involvement will enable us to achieve even greater success in 2012."
Among Zellers and Fischbach's responsibilities will be addressing elected officials, candidates and GOPAC supporters, according to a press release from the group.
The appointment is a one-year gig.
GOPAC is basically a boot camp for up-and-coming Republican leaders. It teaches lower level officials conservative essentials, and provides continuing education and training to members of the party.
It's also a source of campaign cash for select candidates. In 2008, GOPAC America, the group's political action committee, donated $5,000 to Sen. Norm Coleman and $2,500 to Rep. Erik Paulsen's campaigns, among others. More recently, GOPAC has become involved in the recall efforts in Wisconsin, according to Politico.
Posted at 10:25 AM on November 23, 2011
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Amid reports that American Crystal Sugar is beginning to hire replacement workers, Gov. Mark Dayton tried today to convince the company and its locked-out employees to renew negotiations aimed at ending the labor dispute.
Dayton issued the following statement:
"As Thanksgiving approaches, my heart goes out to the 1300 American Crystal Sugar workers in the Red River Valley, who have been locked out by their employer and are struggling to survive. After almost four months, the lockout has devastated families, communities, and the economy in Northwestern Minnesota. It is time for American Crystal's management to reach a fair agreement with its workers, who have contributed so much to the company's current profitability. The absence of meaningful negotiations is greatly disappointing, given the terrible divide this lockout has caused among people, who have lived and worked together. I strongly urge both parties to return to negotiations and find a solution that returns those locked out workers to their jobs and restores stability to the company and the communities in which it operates."
Minnesota Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says NBC host Jimmy Fallon apologized to her Wednesday for a song that was played on his program introducing her.
The song by the band Fishbone is called "Lyin' Ass Bitch."
Bachmann told MPR News that Fallon told her he was unaware that his show's band the Roots planned to play the song, and Bachmann said she believes him. Bachmann said she spoke with Fallon on the phone Wednesday.
Bachmann is still demanding an apology from NBC.
"I'm a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States, a conservative, a Republican woman and this happened and NBC did absolutely nothing," she said. "Had the tables been turned, had Michelle Obama come out on the stage and they played a foul song like they did for me, I have absolutely no doubt that NBC would have not only called and apologized to Mrs. Obama, most likely that individual who did that would have been fired."
Bachmann said Fallon called Tuesday as well, but that she did not have time to talk the call because she was busy preparing for last night's debate.
NBC did not respond to inquiries about Bachmann's demand for an apology.(13 Comments)
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton today asking him to stop next month's unionization vote among state-subsidized child care providers.
They want Dayton to rescind his recent executive order. Many Republicans argue Dayton doesn't have the legal authority to call the election. Zellers and Dean also disagree with Dayton's decision to limit participation to only about 4,000 of 11,000 providers, which they contend is "just as misguided as pursuing an executive order in the first place."
In addition, the GOP leaders wote that they believe the unionization would raise the cost of child care and decrease access to quality programs.
A spokeswoman for Dayton said yesterday that the governor will not rescind or adjust the order.