2012 GOP Race the Cheapest in Years ...even with all that super PAC dough By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff Posted Mar 13, 2012 8:29 AM CDT 8 comments Comments In this Dec. 1, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Newser) – Surprising fact: Even with the contributions of a billionaire casino mogul, the 2012 GOP race for the White House is actually turning out to be one of the cheapest in decades. The Washington Post looks at the numbers through January, and reports that every single primary season since the 1990s has outspent this round. The GOP contenders have spent about 50% of what their counterparts did in 2008—$133 million compared to $278 million. Tack on the super PAC cash, which is only about $37 million spent through January, and John McCain et all still spent significantly more in the last go-round. Even Mitt Romney is reeling in the money at a slower rate now than he did in 2008, and the depressed kitties reflect the enthusiasm woes the party is dealing with, reports the Post, which notes that fundraisers finger that as the biggest cause for the weak cash flow, ahead of the elongated primary season and the still-struggling economy. There is, of course, a flip side: This is not going to last. Most experts think the actual general election campaign will end up being one of the priciest of all time, with donors throwing money to whichever Republican actually goes up against Barack Obama.