The Massachusetts Republican State Committee is on track to spend, in 2012, more that twice what it did in 2010 on Republican legislative candidates. In 2010 that number was around $70,000. This is the result of focus on legislative candidates promised by Chairman Bob Maginn when he ran for election.
The committee is planning on spending that money in both direct contributions, and in-kind donations. They are restricted by law from making a direct contribution of more than $3,000 per year to a candidate, but can spend an unlimited amount in-kind.
In 2010 the committee gave a series of checks totaling $37K to incumbent legislators an average of around $2,000 per legislative candidate. In addition more checks were mailed to incumbents at the end of last month, totalling $17K. This brings the total spent on this cycle to $51,000 already.
According to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance the committee has $127,000 cash on hand as of July 31, 2012. Nate Little, the Executive Director of the committee, told Red Mass Group that in a non-gubernatorial year, that money can only be used to help state legislative candidates.
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There are some that will argue that the committee should just give each candidate running a $3,000 check and be done with it. This is not a sound stragegy, and is something I have been against every time that I’ve heard it. Thee State Party has a candidate’s committee that is working hard to identify which candidates have the best shot of winning. Little says that those candidates are where the money will be spent.
One of the reasons in-kind donations are much more effective use of the money is the fact that the Party gets a non-profit discount on mail. It can send mail at a postage rate that is, on average, 10 cents cheaper per piece than a candidate. For a 10,000 person mailing this is a savings of $1000.
In addition the party has opened more field offices this year than in 2010. Unlike in 2010 candidates and their supporters have been free, and encouraged to make calls for candidates other than the top of the ticket, as long as a question is asked for Scott Brown as well. This is the first time in a long time such a coordinated campaign has existed.
The job of the party is to get a candidate from 45% to 50%+1 not to help every candidate equally.
Full Disclosure: I have sold direct mail to the Republican State Party in the past.