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House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a conservative super PAC linked to House Speaker Paul Ryan, announced Wednesday that they raised $15 million in the the first quarter of 2018 — a record for the PAC and up from the $1.3 million raised in Q1 of 2016, the previous election year.

State of play: Courtney Alexander, communications director of CLF and American Action Network, another conservative group tied to Ryan, told Axios that the group plans to place a high priority on raising money early on rather than waiting to raise and spend toward the end of the cycle. The aggressive approach so early on in the election cycle shows how competitive conservative groups expect the midterm elections to be and offers an inside look at how they plan to defend the Republican majority.

Go deeper

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.