Among the most prominent is American Crossroads and its allied groups. It was created under the direction of former Bush political strategist Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. The operation is run out of offices two blocks from the White House.
"We wanted to create a group that was monolithically focused on helping get Republicans elected," said Steve Law, the president and CEO of American Crossroads and a former U.S. Chamber of Commerce lawyer.
Politicians often point to their small-dollar donations as evidence of broad appeal. But American Crossroads and its affiliates are relying on large corporate and individual donors, the fastest and most efficient way to build their budgets. Law said he has seen some increase in small-dollar giving to his groups, but added, "We haven't spent a lot of time cultivating that."
While American Crossroads and groups like it represent the mainstream of the Republican Party, the Tea Party Express is the party's occasional ally but more regularly a thorn in its side. Its Our Country Deserves Better PAC spent nearly $600,000 to help Republican Joe Miller defeat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska primary. Murkowski had the GOP's backing.
No fewer than five special interest groups have run television commercials in Nevada since June in an effort to try and influence a small group of voters who will decide whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wins a fifth term.
The groups, four pro-Republican and one pro-Democrat, have spent at least $2.8 million on TV ads since Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle won the GOP nomination at the beginning of the summer. Angle, herself, has spent more than $2.6 million on commercials, while Reid aired more than $1.9 million on TV ads in this same three month time period. Today, Reid put a new commercial on TV that is sharply critical of Angle.
In total, nearly $7.5 million worth of television commercials for this Senate contest have aired since June, according to an analysis by Campaign Media Analysis Group for CNN. And that number is expected to double by Election Day.
“Nevada is going to be one of the highest profile races in the country,” said Evan Tracey, CMAG’s president and CNN’s consultant on political television advertising. “Ads will be wall-to-wall on the airwaves.”
The pro-Democratic group, Patriot Majority, has spent more than $1.6 million on pro-Reid commercials.
American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, two groups affiliated with Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, are responsible for the bulk of the pro-Republican spending in this race. American Crossroads has aired a little more than $622,000 worth of ads, while Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies has spent about $416,000 on commercials. Another national GOP group, Citizens United, has run more than $60,000 worth of TV ads and Las Vegas-based Americans for New Leadership spent about $38,000 on commercials.