Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pro-Romney super PAC going big in Illinois

Original LInk:


Illinois Republicans might have a less favorable view of Rick Santorum by the time time they go to the polls on Tuesday.

Restore our Future, the super PAC operating on Mitt Romney's behalf, disclosed to the Federal Election Commission today that it is investing another $1.4 million in Illinois for television ads described as opposing Santorum.

That brings to $2.3 million in Illinois expenditures this month disclosed by Restore Our Future, on top of what the Romney campaign is paying to advertise in Illinois.

The filing reflects a continuation of the hard-edged attacks by the pro-Romney entity on Romney's opponents and offers more evidence of the potentially decisive influence of super PACs this election year. So-called super PACs are supported by unlimited contributions —sometimes $1 million — and legal now as a result of court rulings in 2010.

The anti-Santorum ads are the product of McCarthy Hennings Media, co-founded by Larry McCarthy, a veteran attack ad master who established a reputation with the racially charged Willie Horton spot in the presidential campaign of 1988. The pro-Romney PAC also has spent heavily this election season on direct mail and robocalls aimed at Santorum and at Newt Gingrich.

Santorum has fared well in the nation's mid-sections thus far, winning in Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and in Missouri's non-binding primary last month. Missouri is holding most of its caucuses on Saturday, and Santorum's advisers their candidate will fare well.

But Illinois will be a tougher challenge for Santorum with its moderate politics and the Romney forces' spending advantage.

For Romney, Illinois begins a potentially favorable stretch of states over the next month with the exception of contests in Louisiana and in Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania.

Former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri, a Romney ally, observed this week that the Romney campaign at this juncture is more attuned to the mathematics of accumulating 1,144 delegates than on particular states.

"It's like a round of golf," Talent remarked. "Every hole is important but what is important is the total score."

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