Television advertisements in Alabama and Mississippi promoting rival Republican presidential contenders have been paid for almost entirely by independent political action committees instead of the candidates’ campaigns. So-called Super-PACs supplied 91 percent of the 5,592 campaign ads that aired on broadcast television stations in the two states in the past month, according to data from New York- based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. Alabama and Mississippi hold primary elections today, and polls indicate a close race in each among former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Super-PACs dominated the spending on television because they can collect unlimited contributions and replenish their treasuries more easily than candidate committees, which are limited to raising $2,500 per donor for the primary season and already have spent extensively on previous races. Super-PACs are “providing the campaign advertising that the candidates can’t afford,” Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, said in a podcast March 9 on the website of the Brookings Institution, a research center in Washington.