Outside money can be key factor in 2014 elections

WASHINGTON (AP) - Terry McAuliffe's successful campaign for governor in Virginia might provide a playbook for fellow Democrats in 2014 - and a warning for Republicans.

Outside money makes a difference.

A really big difference.

McAuliffe raised and spent almost $33 million to defeat Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project says outside groups supporting McAuliffe spent an additional $3 million on television ads in just the final month of the campaign.

What's up for grabs in 2014? Try 435 seats in the House, one-third of the 100-member Senate and 36 governor's offices.

Outside spending could play a pivotal - if not deciding - role.

This year's elections will be the first when both parties fully embrace outside groups and their potential to accept unlimited contributions from supporters.

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