November seems far away, but outside money groups are already making it rain in contested Senate races. The Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic operation run by former Harry Reid staffers, has been "carpet bombing" the South in particular, the Daily Beast reports, attempting what's called the "Romney Strategy": Defining your opponents early in negative terms, the way President Obama's operation defined Mitt Romney as a plutocrat. The PAC is airing ads in nine states, and has already seen some results. Top GOP prospect Tom Cotton, for example, is now polling 10 points behind incumbent Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor.
But in some places the PAC's spending is barely keeping up with the competition. It's spent more money in North Carolina than anywhere else, for example, but not as much as the conservative Americans for Prosperity, which has dropped at least $10 million. American Crossroads is also prepping an almost $10 million campaign across North Carolina, Arkansas, Alaska, and Colorado, Politico reported today. "In the old days, groups would have to make choices—spend early or spend late," one analyst says. "There’s so much money now they say, what the heck, spend early, see if it moves the needle, and if it doesn’t, you can still raise more money." The ads you're buying needn't be true, either; the cycle's other notable trend is that both ides have been getting hammered even more than usual by fact checkers. (Read more Election 2014 stories.)