Election Night’s Biggest Losers

Publish:  Nov 07, 2012


Election Night was a great success for Democrats, as President Obama was re-elected and Democratic control of the US Senate was maintained.

There were, however, several big losers on Election Night who deserve to be highlighted. The following individuals and groups lost big on November 6:

Citizens United: Following the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision deeming corporations had the same rights as individuals, restrictions on independent political expenditures by corporations were lifted. Since then, a handful of wealthy individuals have attempted to tip the scales by investing billions in conservative super PACs. An astounding and historic $6 billion was spent on the 2012 elections – large sums of which came directly from a few wealthy contributors. Despite these efforts, voters flatly rejected Mitt Romney and conservative candidates backed by these wealthy individuals up and down the ballot.

Sheldon Adelson: Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson spent more than $53 million on the 2012 presidential race – giving $15 million to support Newt Gingrich in the Republican Primary and then more than $20 million to groups supporting Mitt Romney in the General Election. Additionally, Adelson gave $1.5 million to the Independence Virginia PAC supporting VA Senate candidate George Allen’s race and an additional $2 million to Freedom PAC to support Connie Mack’s bid for Senate in Florida. All four of these candidates lost.

The Koch Brothers: Organizations funded by the billionaire Koch brothers spent more than $95 million on broadcast advertising for Republican candidates and failed field programs for federal office this cycle, most of which was spent propping up losing Republican candidates.  This was after Politico reported that Koch-controlled organizations planned to spend approximately $400 million this cycle.

  • FreedomWorks: One major vehicle was the Koch-created and funded FreedomWorks, which spent at least $19 million, primarily on Congressional races.  Of particular note was their support of losing Senate and House candidates, including:
    • Connie Mack (FL-Sen) – $2.8 million (including money spent both for Mack and against Nelson)
    • Richard Mourdock (IN-Sen) – $2.3 million (including money spent both for Mourdock and against Donnelly)
    • Josh Mandel (OH-Sen) – $2.2 million (including money spent both for Mandel and against Brown)
    • Tom Smith (PA-Sen) – $1.4 million (including money spent both for Smith and against Casey)
    • Joe Walsh (IL-8) – $2.1 million against Congresswoman-elect Tammy Duckworth.

Americans for Prosperity: Americans for Prosperity is a 501(c)(4) organization, largely funded by the Koch Brothers, which spent big this cycle. AFP spent more than $75 million on media ads this year, including $5.5 million during the final days of the election. Over the cycle, AFP spent almost $2 million in a losing effort against Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay Senator in US history.

American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS: These outside groups spent more than $175 million during the cycle against President Obama, and various Democratic House and Senate candidates. Crossroad backed George Allen ($11.3 million), Josh Mandel ($6.4 million), and Richard Mourdock ($4.7 million) in losing efforts.