Over the next two weeks, fundraising numbers big and small will roll in from all over the country as campaigns celebrate success (or try to hide failure) from the first months of 2014. Here's what we'll be looking out for:
-- Do Senate Democrats pick up the pace? Senate Dems, especially the incumbents, looked pretty solid on the cash front at the end of last year. But as Koch-connected spending against them piled up rapidly at the end of last year and the beginning of this one, many of them decided to put significant resources into early TV advertising to combat the assault from the outside with personal, image-boosting messages. Budgets may have been readjusted over the last few months.
-- Do any primary challengers soar? Money is always an obstacle for primary challengers, who need to manage a certain baseline to break through. That's why this quarter will be important, when challengers can start accruing the higher marginal benefits of that early money. Keep an eye on challengers like Seth Moulton (D) (running vs. Rep. John Tierney (D) in MA-06 and widely unknown at this point) and two Club for Growth endorsees, John Ratcliffe (TX-04) and Bryan Smith (ID-02), who are also starting from scratch and challenging GOP incumbents in May.
Battleground House districts bear watching too: As Democratic pollster Celinda Lake mentioned at a recent Christian Science Monitor breakfast, her party's big money may shift toward saving the Senate, leaving House candidates to shoulder more of the burden on their own. Those areas will all have our focus over the next few weeks.
-- Scott Bland