Dems Get a Super PAC Jump-Start

Billionaire George Soros is jumping into the 2012 election funding race, donating $1 million apiece to pro-Democratic super PACs America Votes and American Bridge 21st Century. This cash infusion—much needed given how Democratic super PACs have struggled to match the fundraising pace of the conservativeAmerican Crossroads—may bring other liberal donors to the fray despite longstanding misgivings of the influence of super PACs from both the Obama camp and the pool of untapped liberal donors. Democratic supporters will have to be quite generous to outpace their conservative competition—super donor Harold Simmons plans to funnel $36 million into super PACs this election cycle, and Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has already given at least $10 million during the Republican primary.

Even if Soros' contribution starts a new trend in Democratic fundraising, for now the Obama campaign seems to think they're on their own on the money front. While Republican super PACs have taken the reins on political-advertising costs, the Obama campaign just unveiled a $25 million ad campaign. And, even if the money rolls in, it might be put to a different purpose than  the Republican super PAC money. While American Crossroads and its ilk funnel millions into political advertising, pro-Democratic groups and donors seem inclined to see the super PAC money go towards grassroots organizing efforts. “The idea that we’re going to engage in an arms race on advertising with the Republicans is not appealing to many liberal donors,” said David Brock, founder of American Bridge 21st Century, to The New York Times.


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