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Ad Spending Speaks Louder Than Words

July 20, 2012

Wither Wisconsin? The state's demographics argue it should be competitive. Gov. Scott Walker's win in a recall election earlier this year showed Republicans the path to victory, and fired up the base at the same time. And at an event a few weeks after Walker won, Mitt Romney sure sounded optimistic.

"I think President Obama had just put this in his column," Romney said of the state's electoral votes during a stop on his bus tour. "He just assumed from the very beginning that Wisconsin was going to be his. But you know what? We're going to win Wisconsin and we're going to get in the White House."

But Republicans and their allies aren't putting their money where their mouth is. While Romney and his allies have spent more than $186 million on television advertising this year across 13 states, they've collectively spent just $2.7 million in Wisconsin.

The vast majority of that money has come from organizations that aren't closely allied with the Republican establishment. Americans for Prosperity, the independent group founded by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch, and Concerned Women for America have each spent $1 million.

Restore Our Future, a super PAC run by prominent former Romney aides, is the only top-tier Republican group to have made a play for Wisconsin's votes. The group has reserved nearly $500,000 in advertising that will run between July 31 and August 6, according to sources watching the ad buying market.

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