CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Big 2014 midterm races and calculations, and a 2016 wrinkle or two, filled a trip around our Inside Politics table to close this Sunday's program.
1. A GOP mega-donor mulls a big 2014 play
If you had a big, high-stakes project, think an extra $1 million a day might help?
Well, leading GOP sources focused on 2014 Senate races say such a boost is being contemplated by GOP megadonor Sheledon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino mogul.
Adelson has spent some time of late studying the map, and receiving briefings on state-by-state strategy and candidates. And he is promising to help Republicans target a dozen seats now held by Democrats, with the ultimate goal of picking up at least six - and the Senate majority. The GOP also is defending seats in Georgia and Kentucky.
So watch in the days and weeks ahead to see how much of a Senate play Adelson is prepared to make. One of the sources involved said it could be as much as $100 million. With 107 days to the election from Sunday, that would be an eye-popping bet.
2. Not your father's Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is already a big player in the 2014 battle, and CNN’s Peter Hamby discussed his in-depth reporting on just how much of a boost the business group's work has been for Republicans.
This aggressive political play outside of the capital is a big shift for the Chamber, and a huge factor in the establishment vs. tea party tug-of-war playing out in the GOP.
“The Chamber of Commerce has really moved away from being just a lobbying organization in DC to being one of the more preeminent political players in campaigns– rivaling American Crossroads,” said Hamby. “So that’s a big deal in American politics.”
3. Exhibit A: the Georgia Senate GOP runoff
Molly Ball of The Atlantic teed up a textbook example of the Chamber's 2014 strategy: next week's GOP Senate runoff in Georgia.
The Chamber backs GOP Rep. Jack Kingston over businessman David Perdue.
It was Perdue who won the most votes in the first round, with Kingston second. But the runoff is needed because neither cracked 50 percent, and Molly reports the Chamber is confident its investment in Kingston will bear fruit Tuesday.
“Although Perdue came in first in the first round, Kingston looks like he is up in the runoff,” said Ball. “If he does win the runoff, it will be another victory for the Chamber of Commerce, which has backed Kingston very aggressively.”
The Chamber of Commerce pushing for Kingston on Twitter this week:
Countdown to #gasen primary runoff: 5 DAYS! Learn why @USChamber supports @JackKingston4GA: friendsoftheuschamber.com/vfj/ga http://t.co/8k2y5UawRm—
U.S. Chamber Action (@USChamberAction) July 17, 2014
4. Gillespie disappoints some GOP watchers
GOP leaders cheered when veteran operative Ed Gillespie jumped into the Virginia Senate race, believing it would give them a chance, albeit a long shot, to defeat Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. Even a competitive race forces Democrats to spread precious resources into the state.
Gillespie's decision was welcomed because of his deep resume: longtime Capitol Hill aide, former Republican National Committee chairman, former top Bush White House adviser, former top Mitt Romney adviser. Add all that up, and the thinking was: smarty guy, with a deeper than deep fund-raising reservoir.
Now there's no GOP panic in Virginia, but Politico's Maggie Haberman shared behind-the-scenes reporting on a development that surprised, and disappointed, some GOPers closely watching the race.
“Ed Gillespie, who is running for Senate in Virginia, has been a pretty effective fundraiser but he was outraised by Scott Brown,” said Haberman.
“He has good cash on hand, but the fact that he got $1.9 million and Scott Brown got $2.34, $2.35 million was not lost on some folks.”
Ed Gillespie’s tweet from this month wishing one of his very famous former bosses a happy birthday:
5. Yes, Virginia you ARE a quadrennial battleground now
Jonathan Martin of The New York Times reminded us once reliably red Virginia is now a presidential battleground - and the 2014 cycle offers a chance for presidential prospects to test the waters, and make some important friends.
President Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012, and it’s hard to map out a GOP White House win without Virginia.
So Jonathan reports that Sen. Rand Paul is looking to deepen his ties in the state.
"On Tuesday, Rand Paul is going to be in Arlington, sitting down with two candidates who ran in Virginia last year—Pete Snyder and Ken Cuccinelli,” said Martin.
And Jonathan also tells us, the aforementioned Ed Gillespie is soon to get some help from another 2016 prospect: Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence.