Super PACs aren't just for federal contests such as those for president and Congress, and the 2013 elections are certain to prove it. Millions of dollars in super PAC money are expected to flow down to high-profile races for governor and mayor across the United States.
One likely target of the cash: The battle for mayor of New York City.
The current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has launched his own super PAC called Independence USA and has indicated he is willing to spend millions on trying to influence the contest to replace him in 2013. Bloomberg, a moderate Republican, is one of the wealthiest men in America and spent more than $100 million of his own money winning a third and final term.
"On issues like guns and education, Mike Bloomberg is poised to play an even bigger role in advancing a mainstream agenda and influencing elections," Howard Wolfson, a top aide to Bloomberg, told The Washington Post.
Super PAC spending is permitted to reach down into state and local elections. In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Montana Supreme Court decision that had upheld that state's own century-old law limiting campaign spending by corporations. The decision meant the Citizens United ruling, which led to the creation of super PACs, applies not only to spending on federal elections, but contests at the state level such as governor and legislature as well.
Other like targets for super PAC spending in 2013 include races for governor in New Jersey, where Chris Christie is expected to run again, and Virginia.
If you thought the end of the 2012 presidential election campaign brought a temporary cease-fire in super PAC spending, think again.
We've only seen the beginning of big money's influence.
[New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg/Getty Images News]