The donor freeze started thawing in September when polling began to tighten in a number of races and big-names such as Sheldon Adelson started opening their wallets. He wrote a $10 million check to Crossroads GPS in September, a nonprofit arm of the Rove organization. GPS, as a nonprofit, is not required to disclose its donors. Adelson's windfall was leaked to the news media. "Typically donors who support Crossroads are pretty sophisticated consumers of political information," Law said. "My guess is donors paid attention to what they saw on sites like Real Clear Politics."
The group scraped together $36 million to put into television for Senate races in the last 90 days of the campaign, according to figures provided by Crossroads. It was the lead spender in Colorado, Arkansas and Alaska, where GOP Dan Sullivan is about 8,000 votes ahead of Democrat Mark Begich.
However, resources weren't arriving evenly or predictably. That forced Crossroads and some of the other GOP groups to cooperate this year in ways they've never done before. One example came in October when Crossroads realized there was a "hole in our budget" for Colorado, Law said.
Law emailed Brain Baker at Ending Spending Action Fund, the super-PAC backed by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts and the two worked out a deal—the Ricketts group would go up on the air and continue pounding incumbent Democrat Mark Udall while Crossroads took a week off. "Ending Spending filled a gap," Law said. "The take away for all of us was sharing information and strategy was smart for all of us." Udall lost to Republican Cory Gardner.