Youngstown, Ohio — Newt Gingrich may have won the GOP South Carolina primary Saturday night, but when it came to money spent and votes earned, Stephen Colbert topped the entire Republican field.
Colbert and his Super PAC, The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC, spent about $17,600 on ad time in the Palmetto State, according to published media reports.
Even if that total is a conservative estimate, Colbert, whose name did not appear on the South Carolina ballot — he urged supporters to vote for former GOP candidate Herman Cain, whose name remained on the ballot — spent far less per vote than any other GOP candidate.
Colbert and a pro-Colbert Super PAC spent about $2.80 per vote for the 6,000-plus votes Cain received, according to unofficial vote counts.
Cain, the first major candidate to drop out of presidential contention in December, did not participate in voting in Iowa or New Hampshire. He still received more votes in South Carolina than former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — combined.
Perry, who dropped out days before the primary, and a pro-Perry Super PAC spent about $2.5 million, or about $1,000 per vote.
Mitt Romney, who along with pro-Romney Super PACs spent about $4.6 million in South Carolina and finished second in votes, finished dead last in votes-per-dollar among candidates still in the race.
Romney spent about $28 per vote for about 165,000 votes.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul and pro-Paul Super PACs spent about $22 per vote. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and a pro-Santorum Super PAC spent about $17 per vote.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the winner of the primary, and a pro-Gingrich Super PAC spent about $9.75 per vote.