In the 2016 election so far, we’ve mainly seen candidates and their supportive super PACs run positive advertising supporting their chosen candidate. Now that we’re only weeks from the Iowa primary, things are changing and in a big way.
On Jan. 4, the pro-Jeb Bush super PAC Right to Rise USA dropped $12 million to place media ads opposing Republican candidates John Kasich, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. The buy was spotted on Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer tool. The ad opposing Kasich and Christie mostly touts Bush’s record as governor, while the other hammers Rubio on votes he’s missed in the Senate. Right to Rise recently bought ads opposing Donald Trump as well.
Overall, the super PAC has spent $65 million this cycle, $60 million of that on independent expenditures, which refer to money spent advocating for the election or defeat of a specific candidate made by an outside group.
The campaign reported having $97 million cash on hand at the last super PAC campaign filing deadline on June 30. Super PACs have to file a year-end report at the end of this month, and we’ll certainly be looking to see how much it, and the campaign, raised in the second half of 2015. Just this week, reports emerged that AIG CEO Maurice Greenberg gave Right to Rise $10 million. The question is: Who else is keeping Bush’s efforts afloat and how much money does the super PAC have left?
Right to Rise is not the only super PAC entering the new year with new attack ads. Keep the Promise I, one of several super PACs supporting Ted Cruz, launched ads targeting Rubio. Meanwhile, the pro-Rubio super PAC Conservative Solutions PAC launched ads targeting Bush, Christie and Cruz.