New Horizons for the GOP Money Machine

I’ve read a lot of interesting and intelligent post-election analysis today. But the most illuminating is Nick Confessore’s efficient roundup on 2014 as a testing ground for GOP SuperPACS, led by the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove, who didn’t get along but did manage to create a rough division of labor:

All told, the political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch appeared to be the largest overall source of outside television spending on behalf of Republicans. Seven Koch-backed groups spent roughly $77 million on television advertising in the midterm elections, officials said, including eleven Senate races. Koch groups appeared to be the biggest outside spenders on television in Arkansas, Iowa and Louisiana, airing a combined $25 million in ads. Republican candidates won Arkansas and Iowa, and the party’s candidate is favored to win a coming runoff in Louisiana.

American Crossroads and its affiliated nonprofit group spent $50 million on political advertising, and at least $20 million more on so-called issue ads, a spokesman said. The groups dominated outside spending in Alaska, where the Crossroads groups put about $7 million into television advertising, and Colorado, fielding close to $14 million, which helped crush Senator Mark Udall, the Democratic incumbent who was once favored to win.

All told, Republican outside groups spent about $205 million on television advertising, according to a Democrat tracking media purchases, while Democratic groups spent $132 million.

There’s more from Nick about a group called America Rising that facilitated candidate/PAC coordination via a storehouse for media material and oppo research. They’re the folks who came up with that Bruce Braley video that shocked the conscience of Iowans by displaying contempt for Chuck Grassley, generally considered the most damaging gaffe of the cycle.

But more generally, you get the sense the directors of the GOP money machine think they’ve caught up with Democrats in organizational and technical savvy, and are now prepared to kick some serious butt in 2016.

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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.