The Upshot

Democrats’ attacks boost fundraising for ‘shadow GOP,’ which expands campaign to House

Holly Bailey
The Upshot

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President Obama's pushback on an influx of secret Republican money in the campaign has been good business for the so-called shadow GOP.

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS—two sister groups linked to former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie—have raised more than $13.3 million over the last week. That figure puts them roughly $6 million past their original $50 million fundraising goal ahead of Election Day. The two groups have now increased their money goal to $65 million before Nov. 2.

The move comes as the two groups prepare to jump into the battle for the House. As a Crossroads spokesman first told The Upshot in August, the group plans to spend roughly $10 million on ads in just over a dozen of the closest House races in the country, including several races in Ohio, Indiana and New York. They also plan to run ads against embattled Democrat Alan Grayson in Florida.

The two Crossroads outfits are working with another sister group, the American Action Network, and another newly created conservative group, the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity. The commission was recently founded by GOP strategist Scott Reed, a former Bush adviser who previously ran Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. Collectively, the four groups plan to spend at least $50 million to boost GOP chances in the House before Election Day.

That doesn't mean the Crossroads groups are dropping their focus on the Senate. According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, the groups have spent roughly $5 million on ads attacking Democratic Senate candidates this week alone. That includes a $1.2 million ad buy against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois; a roughly $800,000 buy against Michael Bennet in Colorado; and $600,000 against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.

Crossroads GPS also disclosed an ad buy of nearly $350,000 against Charlie Crist, who quit the GOP to run as an independent in Florida. The ad virtually ignores Democrat Kendrick Meek, who runs a distant third place in the race, and instead plays up the contest between Republican Marco Rubio and Crist, whom the ad attacks as a lackey for Obama.

"Florida needs a strong leader who will put a check on Obama's agenda," the ad says. "That's Marco Rubio."

You can watch the spot here:

(Photo of Rove gripping Gillespie's arm: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

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