Frank Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has done back-to-back stories restating the obvious — a Draft Sarah Huckabee Sanders PAC looks like opportunism by someone who’s said he never met her and who isn’t operating with approval from the Huckabee Sanders camp.
In today’s reprise, Lockwood quoted the Huckster in Chief, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who decamped for income tax-free Florida shortly after finishing his time as governor with a bang (destroying state-purchased computer hard drives).
Huckabee reportedly told Lockwood by text:
“Sarah’s focus and the one she hopes donors will make a priority is to re-elect President [Donald] Trump and elect Republicans at every level, but especially at the House and Senate level,” he said. “Sarah is not a candidate for any office right now. Her singular goal is to help the President and other Republicans in the 2020 cycle. Any contributions made to an unauthorized PAC would be better made to 2020 races.”
The Huckster knows PACs. I’m surprised he didn’t work in a plug for his own Huck PAC. Contributors be aware: Typically only a relatively small percentage of money directed there winds up in the accounts of candidates.
Federal Election Commission records on the Huck PAC show it raised about $885,000 in the first six months of 2019 and spent about $774,000 on operating expenses. Only about $15,000 went to support federal candidates — $5,000 each to Donald Trump, Tom Cotton and Sen. Joni Ernst PACs.
In the 2017-18 cycle, the Huck PAC raised $1.47 million, with $1.05 million going to operating expenses. It sent $167,500 going to federal candidate committees and $53,000 to state political candidates, in all about 15 percent of the total raised.
Key expenditures: In the first six months of this year, almost $50,000 was spent with a Virginia direct mail firm. Another $55,000 went to a Texas digital strategies firm that appears to be related to Chris Maiorana, who was digital strategist for Huckabee’s presidential campaign. Another $14,000 went to Erica Freeman of Arkansas, who’s identified on the zoominfo website as director of scheduling for mikehuckabee.com. There are other expenditures related to mail costs.
In addition to hosting a cable TV show and appearing on Fox News, Huckabee makes frequent appearances as a public speaker.