The Very Online GOP Super PAC Primary
How single candidate Super PACs, dark money groups, and complicated funding structures define the GOP primary online
“Opportunity Matters.” “America Strong and Free.” “Tell It Like It Is.” “Stand for America.” Armed with clichéd names straight out of a Veep episode, Super PACs and “dark money” groups are having a major impact on how Republicans are running for President in 2024.
Especially online, these “outside” spending organizations are increasingly deploying tactics and strategies that were traditionally left to the campaigns themselves. I’ll break that down + more in this week’s FWIW. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, political advertisers spent just over $7.3 million on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. These were the top ten spenders nationwide:
CA Gov. Gavin Newsom, via his Campaign for Democracy PAC, was one of the top spenders on Facebook and Instagram ads nationwide last week. His group aggressively fundraised off of Ron DeSantis’ campaign launch, urging Democratic donors around the country to chip in a few bucks.
Meanwhile, here were the top ten spenders on Google and YouTube ads nationwide last week:
Ron DeSantis’ campaign came out strong during its first week, spending $295,000 on Google ads - primarily for fundraising. ICYMI, I wrote all about Meatball Ron’s campaign kickoff in last week’s newsletter.
Aside from the GOP presidential primary, spending is starting to pick up in other major races. David Trone, a sitting Maryland Congressman and liquor baron is running in a competitive Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against local officials Angela Alsobrooks and Will Jawando. Trone was a top spender on Google and YouTube ads last week, mainly introducing himself to voters statewide.
Political advertisers in the United States have spent around $930,000 on Snapchat advertising in 2023. Here are the top ten spenders YTD:
From around the internet
There’s an extremely-online battle for right-wing influencers being waged between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. Read all about it at Rolling Stone >>
Speaking of online influencers, have you heard of David Pakman? I hadn’t either until I read this NBC News story about the Lefty commentator with millions of fans online.
Every cycle, at least one gullible reporter writes about national Republicans' massive investments in field operations to knock on doors in battleground states. This week, NBC confirmed what most Democrats already know - the GOP organizing hype is usually a bunch of B.S.
Leaders in the tech industry casually warned us this week about AI’s potential for causing human extinction. NBD.
FWIW, here’s how much money likely or confirmed 2024 presidential candidates have spent on Facebook + Google ads to date (1/1 - 5/27):
Mike Pence, Chris Christie, and Doug Burgum are each set to announce their own presidential campaigns next Tuesday and Wednesday at events in Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Dakota, respectively.
Ron DeSantis was caught on camera having a bit of a temper tantrum.
Super PACs and dark money dominate GOP primary online
“Opportunity Matters.” “America Strong and Free.” “Tell It Like It Is.” “Stand for America.”
Armed with clichéd names straight out of a Veep episode, Super PACs and “dark money” groups are having a significant impact on how Republicans are running for President in 2024. Especially online, these “outside” spending organizations are increasingly deploying tactics and strategies that were traditionally left to the campaigns themselves.
Online ad spending of outside groups vs campaigns
Digital advertising for event building or grassroots fundraising is one of the ways that campaigns’ typical roles are being filled by Super PACs, 501(c)4 nonprofits, or other entities. Here’s a quick breakdown of digital spending on presidential candidate ads by the campaigns themselves vs. outside groups:
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