It’s an off election year, but the super PAC fundraising numbers so far in 2013 probably don’t look like what you’d expect: liberal groups are bringing in more cash than conservative ones.Liberal-aligned super PACs raised a combined $40 million in the first half of 2013, according to the Center for Public Integrity, which reviewed filings submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Conservative groups, meanwhile, raised a combined $20 million.
In comparison, conservative super PACs outraised liberal groups 4-to-1 in the first half of 2011, and and nearly 7-to-1 in the first half of 2012.
Of the 20 super PACs that raised more than $2 million in the first six months of the year, 13 are generally aligned with Democrats. (That said, $2 million is a relatively paltry sum considering the big-time money spent during the 2012 election season.)
Leading the pack in 2013 is the gun control group Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, which was launched by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Mark Kelly. Americans for Responsible Solutions raised more than $6.6 million between January and the end of June. Meanwhile, American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-linked outside spending giant of recent years, raised just $1.9 million.
Other top 2013 fundraising groups have strong ties to the Democratic party and unions. DGA Action, affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association, raised $4.2 million. Workers’ Voice, with big contributions from the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, raised $3.8 million. The Democrat-backing House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC have both hit the $3 million mark in 2013.
How much to read into the numbers remains unclear. In a statement to the Center for Public Integrity, a spokesman for American Crossroads said he expected to spending to ramp up in 2014.
“We have yet to make any hard fundraising requests this year,” he added. “We expect our activity in 2014 will be similar to past cycles.”