Roger Stone, former Trump aide who left the campaign in August, will start using money donated to the Committee to Restore America’s Greatness super PAC to publicize an apparent Rubio-Kasich conspiracy. A letter posted on the super PAC’s website alleges that Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. John Kasich have forged a “secret alliance” to destroy Trump. Stone writes that Rubio supporters will start funneling money to Kasich in order to attack Trump, with the promise that Kasich will be on a Rubio ticket as vice president.
According to Bernie Sanders’ campaign aides, the Vermont Senator has now received over 2 million campaign contributions. The average donation amount is under $30 and the vast majority of donations are made over the Internet. Sanders’ aides also expect to outpace President Obama’s 2012 funding efforts on number of donations by the end of the year. Many donors have given more than once, but aides say that total unique donors is reaching the 1 million mark.
The omnibus spending bill released by the Senate on Wednesday has hidden measures to block increased disclosure requirements for political activity. The influence of NGOs and “dark money” in politics has much to do with the lack of disclosure rules when donating campaign funds. The budget bill would curb attempts by the IRS to impose certain measures on nonprofit advocacy groups, in addition to prohibiting the SEC from requiring corporations to disclose campaign activity to investors.
The Jeb Bush campaign and supporting Super-PACs are turning out to be possibly the most inefficient TV marketers ever when it comes to presidential campaigns. Bush sits at 3% in the polls, though not completely out of the race just yet. Though $17 million has been spent in New Hampshire, he’s still in single digits there. Bush and his allies have spent $9 million in Iowa, where the only high number he gets is in unfavorability ratings.
In order to settle outstanding debts from his failed bid, Scott Walker has started renting out email lists to his former rivals. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Marco Rubio have all paid to get their hands on hundreds of thousands of potential Republican voters. The Walker team has further monetized this. When donors give to a campaign, the dollars are split between the candidate they actually want to support and the Walker campaign that provided the lists.
Five years down the road from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, big donors have trouble winning elections with just their cash. Political consultants’ basic pitch used to be that if you spent enough and played enough ads in enough markets, you’d win. 2016 is turning out differently. Big spenders want more access to their cash and more say on how it’s spent by PACs or campaigns. Ted Cruz is excelling here, allowing donors to immerse themselves in spending decisions.
As we get to the meat of this primary season, NBC News and Politifact have joined forces to bring fact checking to the fore. In a campaign where outrageous comments are made and questionable stats are cited, this partnership will be a boon for the interested public and allow for more fact-based reporting. Going forward, NBC, NBC News and MSNBC will have Politifact tabs on their sites.
The fifth Republican presidential debate will take place this Tuesday evening in Las Vegas, Nevada. The prime-time debate includes nine candidates and is slated to start at 8:30 p.m. ET. Of note, Gov. Chris Christie has won back a spot on the main stage, while Sen. Rand Paul barely made the threshold to stay on the prime-time stage. Donald Trump remains at the center podium, flanked by Sen. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
Going “outside the box,” The Washington Post has developed a mobile app inspired by the 2016 presidential election. A reinterpretation of the extremely successful “Flappy Bird,” the new app allows you to play with your favorite candidate while dodging obstacles and answering trivia questions about the race. WaPo made it clear that this game was created with journalists in mind, not the mobile gamer.
Art Pope, North Carolina’s discount store magnate and influential supporter of conservative politics, has pledged support for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He believes Rubio is best positioned to win a general election and has strong policy positions. This comes just a day after Rubio received another endorsement from Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin.