Money is least useful in contests where news coverage is most intense and opinions are most entrenched. How many people do you know who still arenâ€™t sure what they think of Obama? Or are undecided about Romney? Probably not many. But how many people do you know with a strong opinion on their congressman? Or on his or her challenger? Do you even have a strong opinion on your congressman? Thatâ€™s the kind of low-information race where money can have a big impact. … Thatâ€™s where an airdrop of a million dollars in negative ads in the waning weeks of a campaign can completely change the result.
Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District race would seem like a prime target for a super PAC like the pro-Republican Congressional Leadership Fund, which just got $5 million from Sheldon Adelson. There’ll be no lack of Providence-themedÂ fodder to use in attack ads against Congressman Cicilline. (If the Democratic nominee is Anthony Gemma, the situation will be different.) U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse argued on Newsmakers he’s raising so much money in case he becomes a super PAC’s target.
On a related note, Mother Jones argues “a new breed of super-PACs is taking aim at state and local campaigns – elections where they may get even more bang for their buck.”
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