Meet The Newest Republican Kingmaker (He Also Solved The Newspaper Revenue Problem)

chris ruddy

Christopher Ruddy would like you to think he’s the most important person in the Republican primary.

And he might be correct.

A New York Times article discusses the far flung power of the Newsmax CEO, concluding that Ruddy’s ability to reach the conservative set is essential for presidential hopefuls.

Newsmax prints a magazine that boasts a paid circulation of 230,000 and has a massive email list that includes 3.2 million names. Virtually every candidate or would-be candidate — from Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump to Jon Huntsman— have visited or plan to visit the company’s Florida office. The article reports that 55% per cent of the magazine’s subscribers make political donations with the average being almost $2,400.

The most interesting part of the article, however, is Ruddy’s business model. He’ll happily leverage his company’s  email list to anyone with enough cash.

Newsmax’s success — it brought in $52 million in revenue last year, up from $34 million the year before — in large part lies in the way Mr. Ruddy has leveraged his politically plugged-in, over-50 audience. Want to reach potential donors directly in their in-boxes? For around $30,000, political campaigns can rent Newsmax’s list, giving them in effect a direct conduit to a large swath of the Republican base. Newsmax will then send “special messages” from sponsors like Mrs. Bachmann and Rand Paul that allow recipients to donate directly to a candidate’s campaign committee.

According to the Times: “We’re a business,” he said unapologetically, “not an ideology.”

He also might be the man who decides who runs against President Barack Obama.

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