My God How the Money Rolls In (and Rolls Out)!

Even as GOP candidates run the wingnut gauntlet at CPAC, a slightly different market test is taking a new turn, as Rick Santorum’s campaign and Super PAC get flush, while Newt Gingrich’s Vegas lifeline may have been abruptly yanked.

Foster Friess, a major donor to the Red, White and Blue Fund, a super-PAC backing Rick Santorum, said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday that money is “just absolutely rolling in” since the former Pennsylvania senator won three primary contests this week.

Friess said a single unidentified donor — not him — contributed $1 million to the fund.

The same report indicates an ominous lack of new contributions to the Gingrich Super PAC from the Adelson family:

In the past seven days, Winning Our Future has spent $61,290 on broadcast television advertisements, compared to $636,920 spent by Mitt Romney and a super-PAC backing him, Restore Our Future, according to data compiled by New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, a company that tracks advertising.

For now, the Adelsons don’t plan to deliver another big check to float Gingrich’s campaign, according to a person familiar with their deliberations. The family has donated a combined $11 million to Gingrich’s super-PAC in the past two months, according to interviews and Federal Election Commission records. An Adelson spokesman declined to comment.

I don’t pretend to understand the decision-making process of people for whom $11 million is pocket change (I did once work for an organization whose entire annual budget was smaller than the play-money one of our interns was given by his Wall Street daddy to try his hand at the stock market, which did not increase my faith in America as a strict meritocracy). Maybe Sheldon’s just acting by whim, or maybe he’s responding to the many veiled threats he’s receiving from Team Romney that his future White House access may be limited to standing-room at the Inauguration if he keeps up his subventions to Newt.

But this stuff matters a lot. Without Adelson’s money, Newt Gingrich is just an aging gasbag who needs to beat up on debate moderators to get oxygen for his campaign.

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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.