Political committees controlled by Mitt Romney’s campaign have made generous donations to prominent Republicans in early primary states, but records show contributions have tailed off as the GOP nominees head in to Super Tuesday.
The former Massachusetts governor has used a network of state and federal political action committees and personal donations to hand out at least $1.78 million to hundreds of local and national Republican candidates and organizations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the White House.
More than $500,000 was spent on Republican candidates in the first 13 state contests, which accounted for 371 delegates. Republicans in the 10 Super Tuesday states, where 437 delegates are up for grabs, received less than $328,000 from the Romney team.
The dwindling donations suggest the campaign, like the political prognosticators, did not expect the nomination battle to continue as long as it has.
In South Carolina, which hosted the third GOP contest, the Romney-affiliated committees gave more than $100,000 in contributions to state politicians, including more than $62,000 to Gov. Nikki Haley, who endorsed the front-runner. In New Hampshire, which hosted the second primary, $105,000 went to local politicians, the most of any state.
But in Ohio, an important bellwether with 66 delegates at stake, the Romney committees have donated a paltry $37,500. The spending has helped garner the endorsements of Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and three of Ohio’s 18 representatives in the House, but Romney has been unable to win the support of Republican Gov. John Kasich, who got at least $6,000 from Romney and his leadership PACs.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is currently polling neck and neck with Romney in the critical battleground state.