Rick Santorum Needs Money, Fast

Wins in the South or no, a cash infusion is the campaign’s only hope going forward. He’ll rely on the SuperPAC, and hope for a windfall.

Gerald Herbert / AP

Santorum, arrives to speaks at his primary night watch party in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s victories Tuesday in the Deep South will give him delegates and political momentum, and the most important thing of all: Money.

The campaign expects another influx of online donations based off the Mississipi and Alabama wins, a Santorum adviser told BuzzFeed today.

And the nimble campaign, living hand-to-mouth and being massively outspent by Mitt Romney, hopes to husband that cash and to turn a break in the campaign next month to raise enough money to remain a serious rival to the former Massachusetts governor.

“The money comes in and you can organize, catch your breath and push forward. Especially if Newt drops out, it’s going to get very interesting,” said a Santorum adviser.

At the center of Santorum’s strategy is outsourcing the expensive television advertising campaign the SuperPAC supporting him, the Red, White, and Blue Fund. A GOP source familiar with the campaign’s media buys told BuzzFeed that, for instance, Santorum’s campaign has placed a $31,000 statewide cable buy in Louisiana, while the Red, White, and Blue Fund put in a $244,225 statewide broadcast TV buy.

The lull between the April 3rd primaries and those on the 24th could be a boon for a campaign that, if it wants to continue to play on a national level, desperately has to fundraise: “The good news for us is that we could replenish and recharge during the hiatus till the end of April,” the aide said.

The campaign likes to point out that the Romney side has had to dramatically outspend them to eke out its wins in states like Ohio. Santorum said in his speech to supporters in Louisiana tonight that Romney “spent a lot of money against me for someone who is inevitable.” (He’s spent a lot of money to the tune of nearly $64 million, while Santorum’s spent less than $6 million.)

But Romney’s inevitability comes from that very ability to raise and spend money through official campaign channels and through his SuperPAC. Santorum’s team remains tiny — small staff, few resources — but it’s also arguably more efficient, able to adapt to challenges on the fly and change tactics at a moment’s notice.

But while that kind of flexibility served the campaign well in the early states — Romney certainly can’t wax nostalgic about visiting every county in Iowa in a pickup truck — it’s not going to be enough now. The wins look good, but the campaign knows it has to regroup.

They’re just hoping that “the regrouping is going to happen organically because money coming in online,” the Santorum adviser said.

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