Fred Barnes in today's Wall Street Journal:
Republican strategists Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove were appalled last winter as they searched out well-funded conservative groups that were preparing to support GOP congressional candidates in the 2010 midterm. They sensed there were too few of them and that a once-in-a-generation opportunity might be lost. Short of money and grass-roots activism, GOP candidates would be easy prey for lavishly funded Democratic opponents—not to mention liberal groups committed to spending hundreds of millions on attack ads.
This scenario has been averted. Conservatives and Republicans have organized an army of independent groups in a shrewd, collaborative and well-financed effort. While old standbys—the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—are involved, they now have reinforcements. They've come close to matching overall spending by Democratic groups, thus leveling the campaign playing field and enhancing Republican chances of capturing the House, Senate, and more governorships and state legislatures in 2010.
The influence of the new coalition is already being felt. American Crossroads, a brainchild of Messrs. Gillespie and Rove, has poured $3 million into the Nevada Senate race, keeping the underfunded Republican candidate, Sharron Angle, from falling behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the polls. (She led 46% to 45% in a Fox News poll last week.) In Ohio, when Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman was off the air in late July, American Crossroads stepped in with a wave of TV ads on his behalf. In August, the Chamber of Commerce took over with pro-Portman ads. A Quinnipiac poll last week pegged his lead over Democrat Lee Fisher at 55% to 35%.