Next Tuesday, most of the attention will go to Nebraska‘s fascinating, late-breaking GOP Senate primary, which doubles as conservative outside groups’ best chance to snare a Senate seat in 2014. Keep an eye on WV-02, too, one of the places where Senate Conservatives Fund and others are trying to build a farm team to give themselves more opportunities in the future.
— Especially with state Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) suffering from revelations of old radio comments, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse (R) is the greatest remaining hope for groups like SCF after setbacks across the map this year. With banker Sid Dinsdale (R) making a late self-funded charge after frontrunners Sasse and Shane Osborn (R) beat each other up, the stakes are very high for a few outside groups looking for wins next Tuesday.
— Meanwhile, in WV-02, SCF and friends have focused on the state’s open House district after failing to prevent its current occupant, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), from breezing to the party’s Senate nomination. Groups like the SCF, the Club for Growth and other gnashed their teeth over Capito’s Senate run in late 2012—but they couldn’t derail it. By supporting Alex Mooney (R) in WV-02 and House candidates in a few other states this year, SCF and other endorsers are looking to seed the House with future Senate contenders to prevent the scenario from repeating.
— Mooney has outspent the field to put himself in position, but that strength highlights something else: The former Maryland GOP chair, who was a state senator there and considered running for MD-06 in 2012, is getting almost completely funded from out of state. He brought in less than $10,000 in itemized donations from West Virginia in 2013, and the pace hasn’t picked up much: His pre-primary FEC report shows just three West Virginia individual donors.
It’s not that there’s no local money to be had: In neighboring WV-03, Evan Jenkins (R) has raised well over a quarter-million dollars in itemized donations from West Virginians. There’s simply a lot of outside interest in what happens to WV-02 this year.
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