2012 hopefuls are not showing the Tea Party candidates the money

Senate GOP candidates backed by the Tea Party movement have received much less financial support than more established candidates from their party’s leading contenders for the White House.

The GOP figures jockeying for a 2012 bid have largely avoided contributing from their political action committees (PACs) to Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE in Kentucky, Joe Miller in Alaska, Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE in Utah, Ken Buck in Colorado and Sharron Angle in Nevada.

ADVERTISEMENT

All six won GOP contests against rivals backed by the Republican establishment, largely because of support from the Tea Party movement. O’Donnell knocked off a sitting GOP House member, while Miller and Lee bested incumbent GOP senators.

But the six have received only a combined $38,000 from 10 leading Republicans thought to be eyeing a White House run. In comparison, Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE, a former congressman and Bush administration official who is the GOP Senate candidate in Ohio, has received $29,400 alone.

Most of the donations to the Tea Party six has come from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

Romney has donated the maximum $5,000 to O’Donnell, Lee, Buck and Angle, while Palin’s PAC distributed $9,500 to the six candidates, according to an analysis of campaign donations conducted by The Hill.

By contrast, sitting Republican senators and candidates recruited by national Republicans to run for the Senate have netted almost a quarter-million in donations.

That crop of establishment candidates includes Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE in New Hampshire, Rep. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPaul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE in Missouri, Rep. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen MORE in Arkansas, former Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump has named more ex-lobbyists to Cabinet in 3 years than Obama, Bush did in full terms: report Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Congress should defy Dan Coats' last request on phone surveillance MORE in Indiana, Carly Fiorina in California, Gov. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBottom Line Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal MORE in North Dakota, Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP Republicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years MORE in Wisconsin, Rep. Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Advocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Funding the fight against polio MORE in Illinois, Rep. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranPompeo pressed on possible Senate run by Kansas media Jerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Senators introduce bill aimed at protecting Olympic athletes in response to abuse scandals MORE in Kansas, Portman in Ohio, John Raese in West Virginia, Dino Rossi in Washington state and former Rep. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

The Hill looked at contributions from Romney, Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' MORE (S.D.), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, 2008 presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).

Both Romney and Thune have made large footprints in the Senate landscape with their PACs. Thune, a member of the Senate GOP leadership who is running unopposed for reelection, has doled out more than $175,000 this cycle.  Romney, who’s also spent heavily in House and gubernatorial races, has spent about $125,000 on Senate candidates.

But when it comes to some of the insurgent, Tea Party-backed candidates who’ve beaten incumbent Republicans or establishment-backed candidates in primaries, Republican candidates for president aren’t always backing up their professed support with campaign cash.

Thune’s Heartland Values PAC, for instance, said that it hadn’t donated to O’Donnell because she hadn’t asked for support.

“I don’t know if we’ve received a request,” said Justin Brasell, a PAC spokesman. “Sen. Thune supports our Republican Senate nominees.”

The approach by many of the potential candidates differs sharply from that of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a dark-horse White House contender.

DeMint, through his Senate Conservatives Fund, has backed many of the Tea Party candidates this cycle, sometimes during the primary. Angle, Buck and Paul have all received $5,000 from DeMint’s PAC, and Lee received $10,000.

White House contenders typically set up PACs and dole out cash to build support to run for higher office. The hope is that those helped out will offer endorsements and fundraising down the road.

As a result, the donations are both an indication of the presidential contenders’ view of the crop of Senate nominees and a bid to build a political base.

By that measure, would-be GOP presidential candidates are betting in a major way on Blunt and Portman, who have received close to $30,000 apiece from the presidential hopefuls. Ayotte, Coats, Fiorina, Hoeven and Toomey each has received between $20,000 to $25,000.

Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign Republicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE, the Republican Senate nominee in Florida who has excited conservatives across the country, has been quickly embraced by the establishment. He’s received $17,400 from Thune, Romney, Pawlenty and Huckabee. DeMint has also given a maximum donation.

Some of the other Tea Party candidates could also pick up steam in the four and a half weeks between now and Election Day.

Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC, for instance, has distributed just over $46,000 so far to GOP Senate candidates, but plans unspecified donations to O’Donnell and Miller.

“Obviously there’s too many competitive races in a great cycle like this to contribute to every single candidate who we like, but we’re using our resources wisely and supporting as many as possible,” said Alex Conant, a spokesman for Pawlenty.

Hogan Gidley, the executive director of Huckabee’s HuckPAC, was quick to point out that support for candidates extends well beyond pure donations.

“In addition to financial assistance, much of Gov. Huckabee’s work on behalf of candidates flies underneath the D.C. press radar,” he said. “While the robo-calls and radio ads we cut for our candidates aren’t as flashy to many in the elite media, the campaigns we’ve helped sure appreciate them and understand their value.”

Other possible candidates, like Pence and Barbour, have focused their resources in other contests in which they have a stake. Pence has given to Coats and Blunt, but otherwise focused on House races.

Barbour’s been more active in Senate races, donating $53,500. But his political impact’s been felt much more heavily through his work as chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), where he’s raised millions in support of GOP gubernatorial candidates.

Pawlenty, like Romney and Barbour, has also been active. “So far we’re proud to have given over $320,000 to more than 160 conservative candidates across the country, and many more candidates are benefiting from Gov. Pawlenty’s work as vice chair of the RGA and his fundraising efforts for the NRSC, NRCC and RNC,” Conant said.