Kasich Wasn't All Retail Politics - He Had Millions in PAC Spending Behind Him
The presidential campaign of Ohio Governor John Kasich, which was revitalized Tuesday with a second-place showing in New Hampshire's Republican primary, has a reputation for retail politics, as illustrated by more than 100 town hall-style events he held in the Granite State before the vote.
But Mr. Kasich has also benefited from millions of dollars in spending by New Day for America, a "super PAC" supporting his campaign that has lashed out at rivals for the mantle of the top moderate in the race.
In early January, for example, New Day for America went after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his stance on gun rights. It posted video of Mr. Christie telling Fox News's Sean Hannity in 2009, "I favor some of the gun control measures we have in New Jersey ... There's a big handgun problem in New Jersey now." Mr. Kasich is a gun rights advocate.
The YouTube video was a drop in the bucket, costing the PAC only around $1,000 to produce. But since January 1 alone, the PAC has spent $3.4 million in New Hampshire on TV spots, direct mail, digital ads, data services, voter contact, and "crowd building" in support of Mr. Kasich, and in opposition to his rivals, according to Federal Election Commission data analyzed by Ad Age.
TV comprised the bulk of the PAC's support. Since July, its overall spending on TV commercials totaled around $12 million in New Hampshire, according to CMAG data.
The Kasich campaign itself spent only around $1.4 million on media buys, consulting, fundraising, research, polling and other efforts not related to staff payroll, travel and non-marketing costs in all of 2015 according to Ad Age's FEC report analysis.
Both the Kasich campaign and New Day worked with Koch Brothers-affiliated data firm i360 for voter contact data and other services. Data firms such as i360 help campaigns and political organizations target precise lists of voters based on their likelihood to support a candidate, or be persuaded against rivals.
New Day's negative campaign tactics may have helped propel Mr. Kasich to his strong showing behind the winner, Donald Trump. The PAC spent about $200,000 in the past month on mail and voter contact opposing Mr. Christie, Mr. Trump, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, among New Hampshire voters.
In addition to New Day for America, Mr. Kasich enjoys the support of a super PAC called New Day Independent Media Committee. Both are run out of the offices of Winterset CPA Group, a tax accounting firm in Columbus, Ohio.