So another big green clue about the final 2014 electoral battleground dropped today, per this report from Politico‘s James Hohmann:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is planning to reserve more than $6 million in additional North Carolina airtime Monday, sources tell POLITICO.
Seeing overnight tracking numbers that show the race tightening and Republican Thom Tillis in striking distance, NRSC strategists have authorized their independent-expenditure arm to spend an extra $6 million to $6.5 million — on top of the $3 million or so that was already planned.

Tillis has been a big fat underperformer in this cycle, so the big money bet (assuming it’s not a head-fake) could reflect, as Hohmann blandly indicated, tightening polls, or simply a frustrated decision by the national folks to push Tillis aside and bludgeon Kay Hagan into submission with negative ads.

Either way, it’s a bet progressives would especially like to see go bad. There are three races this year that have meta-significance because they at least partially represent referenda on heavily financed conservative state policy experiments: the gubernatorial races in WI and KS, where the Kochs have made investments they’d surely like to replicate elsewhere, and in the NC Senate race, where a sort of Koch Lite, Art Pope, has paid for and then directed a GOP state legislative majority nominally headed (in one chamber, at least) by Thom Tillis. I’d say Tillis has already benefited from far more than his share of partisan and ideological money, but that implies there’s a bottom to the bucket he’s accessing.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.