Finance reports suggest Democrats have advantage among outside groups - for the moment

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San Francisco investor Tom Steyer founded NextGen Climate Action in 2013 and sent to it $9.3 million from his billion-dollar fortune. The group spent almost $8.3 million in 2013 and Steyer pledged $100 million to influence 2014's elections. Yet the group raised roughly $30,000 from two donors so far this year; neither was Steyer. NextGen spent close to $500,000 and has about $870,000 in the bank.

After spending $75 million to help Obama's re-election, Priorities USA Action stuck with its plans not to raise money in 2014. Its report showed just three individual donors, totaling about $4,000. The organization, which is preparing to support a potential 2016 presidential bid from Hillary Rodham Clinton, urged donors to give to other groups.

To help Republicans pick up seats in the Senate, the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads super PAC stepped up its fundraising. The group raised more cash in March than it did during the previous 14 months combined.

The GOP establishment's favorite super PAC raised almost $5.2 million in March and had more than $6.3 million in the bank as of March 31. That cash already has been used to criticize incumbent Democratic senators in Alaska and North Carolina and is expected to support former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in his bid to unseat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.

"There's been a noticeable rise in enthusiasm among our donors," American Crossroads chief Steven Law said, crediting candidates challenging Democratic incumbents.

American Crossroads accepts unlimited donations and spent more than $116 million on the last election cycle. It is now positioning itself to be a major player during these midterm elections as it accepts unlimited donations.

Both parties' committees to elect House members were expected to file their reports before Sunday's deadline. The Democratic National Committee, which went into March with more than $15 million in debt, also had not announced how much it raised and spent in March.

Among other party committees, the Republican National Committee said it raised $10.2 million in March and had $12 million in the bank. The National Republican Senatorial Committee reported it raised almost $6.4 million in March and had almost $15.9 million saved.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said it raised $8.1 million in March and was sitting on $22.2 million.

House and Senate incumbents and challengers were also filing reports. A snapshot of their finances was slower to come together, but the dollars under candidates' direct control certainly would have their own influence on November's elections.

For instance, Senate incumbents and challengers came into this election year with almost $200 million raised and about $158 million saved for what is expected to be a brutal fight for control of that chamber.


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