Unequal Struggle in Florida

Between now and Tuesday, Floridians are going to get a heavy dose of TV and radio attack ads from the campaigns and Super-PACs of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (plus some anti-Romney ads mishievously placed by the public-sector union AFSCME, not big Newt fans).

But despite Winning Our Future’s fresh $5 million from Dr. Miriam Adelson (wife of Casino Sheldon Adelson), Gingrich is getting badly outgunned in Florida. According to ABC’s Michael Falcone:

So far, Romney has bought $5.6 million worth of airtime and the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, has shelled out a whopping $8.2 million, according to a Republican media buyer who is tracking ad spending in the state.

Compare that to $837,000 spent by the Gingrich campaign and the nearly $3 million of airtime bought by Winning Our Future, a super PAC supporting the former House speaker, and it’s easy to understand one reason why Gingrich has slipped in the most recent polls in the Sunshine State.

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times has a slightly different and even more lopsided estimate of Romney’s media advantage in Florida, suggesting that Mitt and company have spent about $15 million on ads while Team Gingrich is at around $2.5 million. But you get the idea. With his poll numbers in the state already slipping, and not at all helped by his performances in the week’s two televised debates, Newt’s on the ropes and running out of time.

Given his financial situation, he’s having to substitute sheer viciousness for ad time. And his Super-PAC’s Florida ads certainly leave little to the imagination in painting Romney as a flip-flopping crypto-liberal who loves him some baby-killers:

Hard to say if it will make much of a dent. But it’s certainly not going to do much for an atmosphere of unity among Florida Republicans going forward. Right now they’d be justified in assuming these two pols would just as soon feed each other to the gators and pythons of the Everglades.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.