January 5, 2012

AND THEN THE GROWN-UPS TAKE OVER:

Rick Santorum's task gets tougher in Florida (GEORGE BENNETT, 1/05/12, Palm Beach Post)

Four years ago, Mike Huckabee got national buzz and a lift from second­-tier status after winning the Iowa caucuses.

But by the time Florida's primary arrived 26 days later, a second-place finish in South Carolina had sapped Huckabee's momentum and he lacked the money to compete in Florida's 10 media markets and 67 counties. Huckabee limped to a fourth-place finish in the Sunshine State as John McCain effectively clinched the nomination.

"Florida's an expensive state," Huckabee's 2008 campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, recalled Wednesday. "I remember specifically it was about a $4 million statewide (TV advertising) buy. ... Whatever it was, we didn't have it."

Romney began airing TV spots in Florida this week. His campaign hasn't revealed how much it's spending on them.

In addition to TV costs, Florida presents an organizational challenge because a significant number of ballots are cast before election day. Absentee voting has already begun, and early voting starts Jan. 21.

In the 2008 general election, about 4.6 million votes were cast by early and absentee ballot in Florida while about 3.9 million were cast on the traditional Election Day in November. That means campaigns need the resources to target advertising, mail and phone banks over a few weeks rather than focusing on a few days before an election.

Through Sept. 30, the last date for which Federal Election Commission reports are available, Romney had raised more than $32 million, while Santorum had raised about $1.3 million.

Posted by at January 5, 2012 9:24 PM
  

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