So Ralston asks a simple question and comes up with a bunch of possible answers: maybe it’s about internal polls, or maybe it’s about downballot races, or maybe it’s a thank-you note to Sheldon Adelson or maybe it’s just because they have the money so why not spend it?Yup, and a terribly important insight. This is actually why I put so much emphasis on the likelihood that politicians will copy strategies and tactics from winning campaigns -- which is very different from copying winning strategies and tactics (that is, those things that actually made a difference). Oh, there are certainly some electioneering techniques which are carefully tested and evaluated. But as near as I can tell, lots and lots and lots of what politicians and operatives do is based on folk wisdom. Or organizational inertia. Or organizational chaos. Or organizational cross-incentives (such as when whoever was in charge of Nevada may have personal incentives for the campaign to divert resources there, regardless of whether it maximizes Romney's chances of winning). All of which might be going on at the same time.
Truth be told, most campaigns are rolling balls of madness just beneath the surface.
See, for example, a nice Greg Koger post about the conflicts between party networks, candidates, and formal party organizations.
One of the implications of all of this is that reporters who are inclined to blame campaign in-fighting or other internal campaign issues for a loss can always find plenty of examples, because both winning and losing campaigns have plenty of internal campaign conflict. After all, internal conflict is built in to every large organization, but if you think about presidential campaigns in particular, you realize that they'll have more htan their share.
All of which is to say: nice catch!