WASHINGTON -- It's been just one week since Americans were bombarded with political ads, robocalls and knocks on the door by canvassers handing out literature and asking them to vote. For now, people don't have to face emails begging them to donate, once again, to candidates.
Or so they think.
In fact, politicians are already holding fundraisers for the next cycle, two years away, and the cycle after that, which isn't until 2016.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was first out of the gate, with a fundraiser for his reelection campaign on the day after the election. McConnell held the event at the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, charging $1,000 for an individual or $2,500 for a political action committee. The minority leader is up for reelection in 2014, and he's hoping that raising a boatload of money will scare off potential Democratic rivals.
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) was not far behind McConnell. The weekend after the election, he hosted a golf outing, which cost a minimum of $2,500. Schrader handily beat his Republican opponent in last week's election.
According to the Sunlight Foundation's Political Party Time website, which tracks politicians' fundraisers, there are at least eight such events this week, including one by newly elected Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), raising money to retire her primary debt.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) is holding a breakfast fundraiser at the National Democratic Club in Washington on Friday, requiring a minimum donation of $500. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Nev.) will be the special guest at a Thursday breakfast for Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), who isn't up for reelection until 2016. And Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) is holding his annual birthday bash in Altoona, Iowa, on Saturday. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will be there, already raising questions about his possible presidential ambitions for 2016.
"Republican super PACs and special interests may be down, but they're not out," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson. "Democrats have built networks of small donors so we can compete, but you don't win the next election by resting on your laurels after this one."
According to an estimate by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, 2012 election spending topped $6 billion. Outside groups such as the Democratic Priorities USA and the Republican American Crossroads hit nearly $1 billion.
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