“I don’t think outside group spending is the reason why Republicans have nominated a few duds in recent years — and it’s really been a few duds. They’ve been high-profile duds,” said Brad Smith, chairman and co-founder of the Center for Competitive Politics, which supports a rollback of campaign finance restrictions. “I don’t think that’s been a problem with outside groups, that’s a problem with a primary electorate.”
He added, “Republicans would be foolish to think about how they should be regulating these [outside groups] because they rely more on paid media than Democrats do.”
Democrats could consider reintroducing campaign finance reform legislation next Congress. Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, one of the co-sponsors of the original DISCLOSE Act, said it was on a list of initiatives leadership would like to take up.
And the party sees Republicans electoral failings this cycle as an interesting starting point for renewing their push.
“I think that [McConnell] celebrated the Citizens United decision prematurely, and he liked the idea of deregulating campaign finance but perhaps the implications of the ruling didn’t become clear to him until this cycle played out,” a senior Democratic aide said. “I think Mitch McConnell is only now realizing that he needed to be careful what he wished for because this ruling has unleashed forces that have hurt his party’s attempt to take back the Senate, twice now.”