SPOTLIGHT

Rise of the Local Super PAC

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.
National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
Jan. 17, 2014, 6:45 a.m.

Big play­ers dom­in­ate the out­side spend­ing game. Cross­roads (R) might be the single group most syn­onym­ous with out­side spend­ing, while Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity (R) is out-ad­vert­ising just about every­one else com­bined right now. But the flow of money is also dif­fus­ing in­to smal­ler groups that just fo­cus on one race or can­did­ate, and there’s a bunch worth track­ing this year.

— There are four top Sen­ate races where at least one can­did­ate has a per­son­al su­per PAC. There are three in Alaska, two in North Car­o­lina (one just formed to help Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with­stand a de­luge of out­side money there), one in Louisi­ana, and a big pro-Mc­Con­nell group in Ken­tucky. Ken­tucki­ans for Strong Lead­er­ship has already spent $1.1 mil­lion ham­mer­ing Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes (D) and ex­pects to be the main source of GOP out­side money in the Bluegrass State.

— A few have already popped up in the House, too. One chal­lenger to co­caine-bus­ted Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) already has a mil­lion-dol­lar su­per PAC back­ing him up, and former GOP Rep. Richard Pombo is head­ing up a Cali­for­nia Cent­ral Val­ley-fo­cused group back­ing Reps. Jeff Den­ham (R) and Dav­id Valadao (R).

— With hun­dreds of thou­sands avail­able in­stantly with one stroke of a pen, we can ex­pect many more of these groups to form in the up­com­ing months. Es­pe­cially in primar­ies and at the House level, where a dol­lar (or, say, a few hun­dred thou­sand) goes a longer way, the trend will con­tin­ue to have im­port­ant con­sequences.

The big play­ers will re­main im­port­ant, but loc­al ef­forts are set to play lar­ger roles across the coun­try in 2014.

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