The first fundraising quarter of 2014 ends at midnight tonight, as the thousands of emails begging for cash in every politico’s inbox have made sure to remind us. 

The first quarter poses some big tests for candidates. It’s the first full fundraising quarter for Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranMcConnell urging Mississippi gov to appoint himself if Cochran resigns: report A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA MORE (R-Miss.) after he decided to run for reelection, for instance, and a chance to show that his campaign is in fighting mode after he brought in just $350,000 in the last three months of 2013. 

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It’s also the final chance for GOP Senate candidates in Georgia and North Carolina to pull in the cash needed ahead of their May primaries. In Georgia, a big question will be whether any of the other candidates pull in the money to compete with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and self-funding businessman David Perdue (R) in Atlanta’s expensive media market. In North Carolina, it remains to be seen whether any of state House Speaker Thom Tillis’s (R) primary opponents will have the funds to compete on the air against him.

A number of Senate Democrats have also been forced on the air to push back against heavy ad spending from Americans for Prosperity. It’ll interesting to see whether they were able to grow their campaign war chests in a big way, or whether being forced to spend early forced to spend early could cost them airtime down the line.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

NE-SEN (OPEN): Nebraska GOP Senate candidate Shane Osborn raised more than $550,000 in the first quarter of the year, his best fundraising showing yet, and has $660,000 cash on hand. His main opponent, Midland University President Ben Sasse, has not yet released his numbers.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE’s (R-Ky.) primary challenger, Matt Bevin, blasted McConnell in a new ad for supporting a debt-limit increase and launching “false attack ads.”

IA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D-Iowa) apparently knew the cameras were rolling when he called Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law MORE (R-Iowa) a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

CLYBURN CALLS WHITE HOUSE FOR HELP: Assistant Democratic House Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday the White House needs to do more to help House Democrats in this year’s midterm elections. Clyburn said he wants to see the White House helping out more with on-the-ground organization and that perhaps President Obama’s advocacy arm, Organizing for Action, should work to give Democrats in tough races a boost. He said he’s going to phone Obama to ask for help.

NC-7 (OPEN): North Carolina state Rep. David Rouzer (R) is out with his first ad ahead of a GOP primary for retiring Rep. Mike McIntyre’s (D-N.C.) heavily Republican seat. “We’ve got one more chance to turn it around and that chance is right now. Let’s take our country back,” he says in the ad. 

NJ-1 (OPEN): Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and broadcaster Garry Cobb has launched a campaign for resigned Rep. Rob Andrews’s (D-N.J.) seat, joining one other Republican in the primary for the Democratic-leaning district. He told the Philadelphia CBS affiliate that he wants to show people he “cares,” a problem he says plagues Republicans.

PA-13 (OPEN): Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersTrump has declared war on our climate — we won’t let him win Stock slide bites boastful Trump, but rising wages great for GOP Millions should march on DC to defeat Trump Republicans MORE (I-Vt.) endorsed Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach (D) in his crowded primary to replace Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), putting him at odds with the Clintons, who are backing former Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D-Pa.), whose son is married to their daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

 

2016 WATCH

J STREET JABS CHRISTIE FOR APOLOGY: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got snared in controversy when he described the West Bank as “occupied territories” to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring leadership meeting over the weekend in Las Vegas. He apologized for the comments, but now faces backlash from pro-Israel advocacy group J Street, which told him not to “kowtow” to extremists by apologizing.