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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