By Micheal Luo AND Griff Palmer-
November 4, 2010- After all the talk about the impact of independent groups on this year’s midterm elections, the debate over at least one important question can now begin in earnest: Which groups were the most effective?
It is surely a question that donors who contributed giant sums will want to know, although an organization’s impact is not measured solely in wins and losses.
Nevertheless, a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission records found the American Future Fund, an Iowa-based nonprofit that reported spending just over $8 million on 25 House and Senate races, won in 76 percent of them, giving it the highest winning percentage among the biggest-spending Republican-leaning groups.
American Action Network, another nonprofit group that has been active this year, ended up with Republican victories in about 56 percent of the contests it invested in.
American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, the two groups tied to Karl Rove, won just over 58 percent of their races combined; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s winning percentage when backing Republican candidates was just a few percentage points higher.
Another active Republican-leaning group, Americans for Job Security, saw Republicans it backed win in about two-thirds of its races.
Meanwhile, major Democratic-leaning groups, predictably, fared worse. America’s Families First Action Fund, a group financed mostly by wealthy liberal donors that was active in House races, won only about 18 percent of its contests; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees did only slightly better, winning about 20 percent of its races.
Faring the best among the top-spending Democratic groups were the National Education Association, the teacher’s union, which won about 25 percent of its races, and the Service Employees International Union, which won about 29 percent of its contests.