“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.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.