comscore Iowa and New Hampshire have already seen cash from 2016 contenders | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Iowa and New Hampshire have already seen cash from 2016 contenders


The next two years are a good time to be a local candidate or party organization in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The political action committees supporting Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton have already started doling out cash to the campaigns of potential supporters in the states with the earliest presidential contests of 2016.

Leadership PACs — like the one Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, will be forming soon — provide a natural vehicle for sending campaign money to state and local candidates and committees in key early presidential states.

Several potential presidential candidates, through their PACs or the committees created to lay the groundwork for them, spent tens of thousands of dollars in the two early states to help candidates in the midterm elections in November. Those efforts will only intensify this year, as attention turns toward building support for 2016.

Paul, the Kentucky Republican senator who is up for re-election next year, has not let his PAC’s interest in New Hampshire and Iowa wane. On Oct. 14, his PAC, Reinventing a New Direction, made $27,000 in contributions to 28 candidates and committees in the two states, mostly to state legislative and other statewide candidates. Five more state candidates in New Hampshire received $1,000 each on Oct. 21. Randpac has given at least $11,700 to Iowa candidates since early September, according to state filings.

Paul’s PAC gave $5,000 to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee as early as June 2013, according to Federal Election Commission records. Cruz, the Texas Republican senator, has also spent money in the early states. In the final weeks before the midterms, his Jobs, Growth and Freedom Fund gave $22,000 to four Iowa candidates; the Polk County Republican Party; and Liberty Iowa, a conservative state PAC. It made $8,500 in contributions in New Hampshire state elections.

RickPAC, the committee of Perry, the outgoing Texas governor, gave $44,000 to New Hampshire candidates and committees on Oct. 6, including four candidates for sheriff, and $20,500 to Iowa candidates.

On the Democratic side, Ready for Hillary, an independent committee laying the groundwork for a potential 2016 campaign by Clinton, made small cash and in-kind donations to eight New Hampshire committees, mostly local Democratic Party organizations, in late October. In Iowa, Ready for Hillary made $75,000 in contributions to six candidates.

The PAC of Martin O’Malley, the outgoing Maryland Democratic governor, has also been active in Iowa and New Hampshire, both in making contributions to candidates and providing staff for voter turnout work to party committees.

Not all of the candidates supported by the presidential hopefuls won last year, but that’s not the only important factor in making such contributions. Creating a network of party leaders in Iowa and New Hampshire helps build organizational strength in states where the ground game is critical.

“For prospective presidential candidates, these are the allies you want,” Hans Noel, an associate professor at Georgetown University, wrote in an email. “Winning the nomination means winning a series of political contests in unfamiliar territory — other states that a candidate may never have had a reason to visit. The locals know the territory.”

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