Smart Money

If right-wing donors got little for their investment in the most expensive election in history, progressive funders prevailed. In the most expensive 2012 Senate race, Democrat Tim Kaine’s win in Virginia’s open seat, outside parties spent more than $50 million, with $20.7 million going to Kaine and $29.6 to his opponent, former governor and senator George Allen. Winners in the outside funding contest include:

• Majority PAC: $5,709,360
• Women Vote (EMILY’s List) PAC: $2,636,391
• SEIU COPE PAC: $888,201
• American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO: $1,756,912
• Service Employees Union PEA-Federal PAC: $792,593

The second most expensive Senate race was Tammy Baldwin’s defeat of former Governor and Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson for an open seat in Wisconsin. The race bought in $42.6 million in outside money, with Baldwin leading Thompson by $20.6 million PAC, heavily funded by Colorado gay-rights advocate Tim Gill, was Baldwin’s biggest contributor. Baldwin will be the first openly gay woman to serve in the Senate. Outside donors who helped elect Baldwin:

• Majority PAC: $4,7 million
• Women Vote: $3,021,241
• American Federation of State and Municipal Employee’s PAC: $1,743,043
• League of Conservation Voters PAC: $954.250
• SIEU COPE PAC: $1,003,236

Outside funding in most 2012 Senate races was similar. Huge checks from Karl Rove’s two Crossroads groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for Republicans, smaller ones from a broader base of Democratic supporters, who banded together to win the day.

Also in this issue: Why Karl Rove Will Get One More Chance After Squandering $300 Million.