The top Democratic super PAC made a surprise move this week, shifting hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad money from a swing seat in New Jersey to a safe one.
Elsewhere in Democrats' battle to defend an unfriendly electoral map, the move might be seen as a retreat, giving up on taking a new seat and focusing on saving one they already have. But in this case, the decision is less about party strategy and more about what goes on behind the curtain between super PACs and their super donors.
On its face, House Majority PAC's decision makes little sense. Congressional Democrats are scrambling to protect seats in a difficult political environment. One district they've been hoping to pick up is New Jersey's 3rd, an up-for-grabs swing seat currently held by a Republican.
But House Majority PAC just spent nearly a quarter-million dollars on TV advertising time previously earmarked for the 3rd District in New Jersey's 1st instead—a deep-blue House seat where President Obama won with two-thirds of the vote and where Democrats have little chance of losing.
Why move the money? A look at House Majority PAC's fundraising from last month appears to hold the answer. The numbers suggest the group is now running ads in the 1st District because allies of well-connected Democratic candidate Donald Norcross gave them money specifically to do that.