by Max Brantley
The New York Times chronicles today how deep pockets, though they failed to deliver the presidency for Republicans, delivered big wins at the state level, including the recent victory for anti-union legislation iin Michigan. The article mentions several other state-level victories, though oddly enough not Arkansas, where independent spending by multiple major funders played an important role in the Republican takeover of state legislative majorities.
The article explains how Republilcans funneled money into the Michigan governor's race, an important part of the anti-union win because Gov. Rick Snyder pressed for it. This might provide a template for 2014 in Arkansas:
At a gathering of Tea Party activists this year, Ron Weiser, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who has worked with Mr. DeVos, said Republicans had long pondered introducing right-to-work legislation but had been encouraged to wait until the state had a Republican governor. (A video of the remarks was later posted on YouTube by Michigan Democrats.)
“Now we have a legislature,” said Mr. Weiser, who is now the national finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. “And we have a governor.”
Mr. Snyder, too, was helped by national outside groups. In 2010, the Republican Governors Association sponsored $3.5 million worth of television commercials promoting Mr. Snyder and set up a Michigan affiliate that gave $5.2 million to the Michigan Republican Party.
The spending appeared to be part of a money swap that was engineered by the governors’ association, according to Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a watchdog organization. The spending by the group almost exactly equaled the amount contributed to it by Michigan donors, replacing money that largely came from Michigan corporate donors and could not legally be given to Michigan candidates with funds from wealthy out-of-state contributors, such as Mr. Perry and David Koch.
The Kochs are, of course, playing heavily in Arkansas wiith a couple of independently funded organizations including a permenant operation by Americans for Prosperity with a year-round lobbying effort.