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Republican Donors: the Big Losers in 2012

Posted By on November 30, 2012

Karl Rove: in big trouble with Republican donors

Karl Rove: in big trouble with Republican donors

According to the Center for Media and Democracy PR Watch , a lot of Republican donors are extremely unhappy with Republican strategist Karl Rove, credited for Bush’s election victories in 2000 and 2004, for his mismanagement of his SuperPAC American Crossroads and his 501(c)(4) “dark money” group Crossroads GPS. When undisclosed spending is taken into account, Rove may have spent as much as $390 million in the effort to sway a small number of undecided voters in North Carolina and seven congressional races.

PR Watch quotes a Republican donor who spoke to the Huffington Post: “The billionaire donors I hear are livid. There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.” Real estate tycoon Donald Trump put it even more succinctly when he tweeted that Rove had “blow[n] $400 million this cycle.”

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS possibly won North Carolina’s fifteen electoral votes for Romney. This was the only state in which Crossroads ran presidential campaign ads, which Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012. The races GPS helped the Republicans win were in Nevada, where they spent $6.6 million to help Dean Heller keep his U.S. Senate seat, as well as six incumbent House races where they spent $300,000 to $1 million each. This amounts to a 14.4% return on investment (less if undisclosed spending is taken into account). Rove’s performance was so spectacularly poor that real estate tycoon Donald Trump

Some have attributed Rove’s spectacular failures to spending too much on “stupid” and “generic” TV ads rather than on get out the vote efforts and other forms of “on the ground” campaigning.

As Christian activist L. Brent Bozell told Bloomberg News, “Right now there is stunned disbelief that Republicans fared so poorly after all the money they invested. If I had 1/100th of Karl Rove’s money, I would have been more productive than he was.”

Republican adviser Rick Tyler also attacked Rove in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “They went out with their power points and convinced people to give money, but it was as pathetic a performance as I’ve ever seen…Clearly, Rove has too much control over the purse strings.”

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