“In the 1998-2002 period the party committees, working through state party committees, expended substantial sums in competitive contests,” said Magleby, a senior research fellow at the Brigham Young University Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. “In 2004 and since they have done the same thing with hard money independent expenditures.”
Chris LaCivita, a Republican consultant who served as political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in both the 2002 and 2010 cycles, has witnessed the difference firsthand.
“In 2002, the committees were much more focused on the product than the day-to-day dealings of a campaign,” LaCivita said. “By virtue of the product leaving the building, the focus is more on the campaigns being strategically and tactically sound.”
Murray said there have been a lot of changes in the past 10 years, but after winning a tough re-election of her own last year in a challenging landscape for Democrats, the most crucial aspects of winning campaigns are constant.
“The fundamentals of campaigning are all the same,” she said. “Having good, strong campaigns and candidates, and having the resources.”
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., brings a cake reading "Under New Management" to the Republican senate luncheons in the Capitol, November 13, 2014. The cake was inspired by one the former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., once brought.