Campaign advertising for this year’s presidential sweekstakes was pretty sweet, approaching $200M from the candidates combined. $136M of the $195M total was on the prolonged and hotly contested Democratic side. And Democratic contender Barack Obama (D-IL) not only led the field, he spent more than all Republican candidates combined, with $75M in expenditures, according to the Associated Press. Republican candidates combined for over $57M in spending, with long-gone candidate Mitt Romney (R-MA) leading the pack at $31M. Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain (R-AZ) limited his spending to $11M. Obama’s chief rival, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spent $46M. The Democrats in general were flush with cash – the $136M total compares to $51M to contest the nomination in 2004. There was no Republican primary campaign to speak of in 2004 as George W. Bush coasted to renomination for a second term.
RBR/TVBR observation: McCain has had a prolonged period in which to build resources for the general election, but Obama seems to have an inexhaustible well of funding flowing from his internet operation. It is highly unlikely that Obama will choke the cashflow by tying himself to public matching funds; nor have many of the interest groups McCain and Russ Feingold (D-WI) tried to relegate to the sidelines been truly cut off from soft funding and the airwaves. And the undercard features numerous hot contests for Senate and House seats. In short, look for another banner year in the political category.