Consider yesterday’s Newt Gingrich/Mitt Romney GOP presidential race in Florida for a second.
Gingrich has the experience. He has the debating skills. He has an oratorical advantage. He talks the language of the typical conservative primary voter and tea party activist. He’s got sharp political instincts. He’s an enthusiastic street brawler. And coming out of South Carolina and into Florida, he had “big mo’” – momentum – on his side.
By all accounts, he should have whipped Romney. But he didn’t.
Yes, Gingrich has plenty of negatives. But that’s not why he didn’t win.
It was the money.
Romney’s team had the money to do EXTENSIVE opposition research on Gingrich, so they knew/know where all the bodies are buried.
And they had the money to use that opposition research to carpet bomb Gingrich’s campaign and bury it under an avalanche of TV, radio, mail, newspaper, email, website and robo-call ads in the week prior to the Florida primary – the time when voters were paying the most attention and making up their minds!
Romney reportedly outspent Gingrich 5-1 in Florida. Just like he did in Iowa when, at the time, Newt was leading in the polls.
(Oh, and as a side note, I heard somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 percent of all ads run in Florida this past week were negative ads. What’s that tell you?)
The lesson here is clear. Raise your money early. Lots of it. Spend it late. When it counts most. So let it be written; so let it be done.