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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By the narrowest of margins, the Senate voted 51-50 this afternoon to begin debate on the House's legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins defected from the GOP, but Vice President Pence broke a tie. Sen. John McCain returned from brain surgery to cast his vote.
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"A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked a gun regulation in Washington, D.C., that limited the right to carry a handgun in public to those with a special need for self-defense, handing a victory to gun rights advocates. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's 2-1 ruling struck down the local government's third major attempt in 40 years to limit handgun rights, citing what it said was scant but clear guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court on the right to bear arms."