RGA spends $3.2 million on governor’s race


Two days after the Aug. 10 runoff elections, Gov. Sonny Perdue hosted Republican gubernatorial nominee Nathan Deal at the governor’s office for a quick appearance before capitol reporters.

Perdue was asked to comment on reports that the Democratic Party organization in Washington would be spending money in support of Democratic nominee Roy Barnes in his attempt win back the governor’s office.

“I kind of laugh at that and I hope the Democrats bring all the money they can to Georgia,” Perdue said. “The more money they spend futilely in here, the less money they can spend elsewhere.”

Perdue was correct that a lot of money from outside the state is being spent on the Georgia governor’s race. Contrary to what he said, however, the bulk of that Washington money is being spent by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) that Perdue once chaired.

The RGA set up a political action committee called RGA Georgia 2010 that is making independent expenditures on behalf of Deal in the governor’s race.  Disclosure reports filed last week show that the RGA PAC has now spent more than $3.2 million, largely on negative ads attacking Barnes.

That’s more than twice the amount of money spent by the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), which has turned over a total of $1.5 million to the Democratic Party of Georgia to support the Barnes campaign.

In effect, the RGA has assumed responsibility for producing and airing the negative ads that Deal normally would have paid for out of his own campaign coffers.  That flow of Washington dollars has helped Deal erase any fundraising advantage that Barnes might have had earlier in the campaign.

The RGA is largely run by people who came out of Perdue’s political operation in Georgia.  Nick Ayers, a Perdue campaign aide, is executive director of the RGA and Chris Schrimpf, who until recently worked in Perdue’s communications office, handles media relations for the organization.

As of Sept. 30, RGA Georgia 2010 reported independent expenditures totaling $3,207,423 in the governor’s race.

The largest part of that money, $2.68 million, has flowed to Target Enterprises, a media buying firm based in Encino, Calif.  Smaller amounts have been paid to the Scott Howell & Co. media production firm ($207,555); Dickey Strategic Relations ($142,446), the consulting firm run by Perdue’s former media spokesman, Derrick Dickey; and the Fabrizio McLaughlin polling firm ($87,500).

The DGA sent its $1.5 million to the Democratic Party of Georgia to spend in support of the Barnes campaign.

Reports filed by the Democratic Party show that the party has spent more than $1.8 million this year with LUC Media Group, the media-buying firm founded by Bobby Kahn, who ran Barnes’ campaigns in 1998 and 2002.

The Democrats spent $20,212 for media production services provided by Raymond Strother, who was also involved in Barnes’ earlier campaigns for governor.

© 2010 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Bobby Kahn , Chris Schrimpf , Democratic Governors Association , Derrick Dickey , Nathan Deal , negative ads , Nick Ayers , Republican Governors Association , roy barnes , Sonny Perdue