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.
What We're Following See More »
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.