Even though Karl Rove’s American Crossroads brand has been damaged after the group declared war against conservative candidates, the group will reportedly try to influence the 2014 midterm elections by bullying campaigns and creating groups that, on the surface, do not seem to be affiliated with them.
According to the New York Times, Crossroads “appears to be testing” its “new approach” in Kentucky. The Conservative Victory Project, the group formed to take on conservative candidates, has stayed out of Kentucky’s Senate primary between Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin. Instead, a group called “Kentuckians for Strong Leadership” is curiously backing McConnell while getting most of its cash from Crossroads donors. It is “legally separate from Crossroads;” but Stephen Law, the president of Crossroads, sits on its board, and the two groups share a treasurer.
Crossroads may set up “similar groups in races in which its brand may be less appealing to voters or donors.” The Times notes that this is an approach Crossroads may have to take because Rove’s organization has been so tarnished among the conservative base that candidates fear donors will not contribute to any group associated with him.
In other races, Crossroads has been threatening Senate candidates, saying the group and its affiliates will not support them if they accept support from other super PACs. According to the Times, Law warned a Republican West Virginia Senate candidate (Rep. Shelly Moore Capito) that if her campaign formed its own super PAC, Crossroads would not offer it support.
Other Republicans said they were “unwilling to let Mr. Rove and his colleagues decide which Senate candidates get the most support.” “You don’t want someone playing God above you saying, ‘You don’t need any more money in your race. You can win by a few less points,'” a Republican told the Times.
Crossroads and its affiliated groups spent nearly $450 million during the 2012 election cycle with no wins to show for it. Law said the group had good financial controls in place so that its money is not wasted.