Big-ticket donors to the Democrats, like their conservative analogues the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, have begun to embrace PAC-giving with a true vengeance. Michael Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg (neither a traditional Democrat, but mostly left-leaning) have each started their own. Bloomberg’s PAC, targeting gun issues, will spend $3 million in Virginia alone by election day, while hedge funder Tom Stayer’s group, NextGen Climate Action, has also been a significant force in the raise on McAuliffe’s behalf.
Democrats have argued that their billionaire PAC-givers stand to benefit less directly from the candidates’ victories than do donors like the pragmatic Kochs, and while that’s certainly true for something like Bloomberg’s gun efforts, it’s less true for Zuckerberg’s immigration-reform push, and probably for Stayer’s interest in a certain kind of green-tech governor. There are new ways of giving money in politics, but very few new motivations for doing so. As Cucinelli reminded the Times, McAuliffe once gleefully wrote in his memoir that it was easy to fundraise for gubernatorial races, because there were just so many meaningful favors a governor can hand out.
The Fix compares the campaigns’ ad spending:
In the critical final month of the race, McAuliffe’s financial edge grew wider and wider. Take the week of October 21 as an example. McAuliffe was running nearly 3,000 TV ads while Cuccinelli was on air with less than 1,500 ads. Compare that to the ad spending in the 2009 race over the final weeks when McDonnell running ad circles around Deeds. There will be lots and lots of after-action analysis about what a McAuliffe victory — if it happens — means for the two parties’ national prospects. And, there are no doubt lessons to be learned. But the key lesson is that the candidate with the most money usually wins.
In an update to our earlier post, a Virginia reader attested to the Clintonite’s microtargeting advantage.