Perhaps the greatest example of a turnaround is Rove’s American Crossroads. The group was the biggest loser two years ago, dumping more than $120 million into campaigns and watching 10 of the 12 Senate candidates it backed go down in defeat. This time Rove’s group won 8 of the 11 Senate races where it made investments. 

Crossroads went on a well-publicized soul searching mission last fall, including a donor meeting that kicked off the week of the government shutdown in 2013–an event that infuriated the business community. Despite the group’s efforts to improve it’s image, big checks were slow to come in. Over the summer Republicans were outspent in key races, Crossroads President Steven Law said in an interview. “Many of our candidates hit Labor Day and were underwater with their image,” Law said.

The donor freeze started thawing in September when polling began to tighten in a number of races and big-names such as Sheldon Adelson started opening their wallets. He wrote a $10 million check to Crossroads GPS in September, a nonprofit arm of the Rove organization. GPS, as a nonprofit, is not required to disclose its donors. Adelson’s windfall was leaked to the news media. “Typically donors who support Crossroads are pretty sophisticated consumers of political information,” Law said. “My guess is donors paid attention to what they saw on sites like Real Clear Politics.”