The Republican presidential candidates are facing dwindling cash reserves as the protracted nominating fight takes its toll, according to Federal Election Commission reports for February.
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich both spent more than they pulled in. Romney claimed an $11.9 million fundraising haul but spent $12.3 million, leaving the former Massachusetts governor with $7.2 million cash-on-hand. Gingrich raised $2.6 million while spending $2.9 million and is more than $1.5 million in debt.
Rick Santorum registered his best month yet, raising more than $9 million, but spent $7.9 million as he clashed with Romney over closely contested states like Michigan and Ohio. He reported having $2.6 million cash-on-hand.
The SuperPACs affiliated with the respective campaigns continued to be active, pulling in a combined $15 million and spending nearly $30 million in February. SuperPACs can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals and corporations, and while they cannot explicitly coordinate with campaigns each candidate has an allied SuperPAC.
The Romney-supporting Restore Our Future spent nearly double what it made, raising $6.4 million and spending $12.2 million, mostly on advertisements. The SuperPAC reported having $10.5 cash-on-hand at the start of March.
That puts Restore Our Future in far better shape than the Santorum-backing Red, White and Blue Fund, which spent just under $11 million after raising about $2.9 million in February. The SuperPAC has less than $500,000 on hand, a miniscule sum given the context.
Gingrich's Winning Our Future SuperPAC injected more money into the race than the candidate himself, reflecting the capacity of SuperPACs to drastically shape the contours of politics. Winning Our Future deployed $5.6 million in February and continued to benefit from the largesse of billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his family.
Adelson, an ardent Israel supporter who has backed Gingrich for years, combined with his family to contribute the bulk of Winning OUr Future's $5.7 million February haul; the Adelson family has poured nearly $16 million into the effort so far.