CLF gained unwanted attention earlier this year when one of its attack ads included confidential information about a former CIA agent running for office as a Democrat; the organization maintains that it received the information inadvertently during a routine records request.

An review of the independent expenditures reported to the FEC by CLF shows a fairly standard campaign strategy: Blanket a district with negative television ads about the Democratic candidate, while using canvassers and direct mail to drive up turn-out among Republican voters.

This proved effective in special elections over the last two years; the CLF’s biggest single investment was $13 million to defeat Jonathon Ossoff, a political newcomer running for an open Georgia House seat. Similar strategies helped hold off Democrats in other specials, but CLF’s resources are now being spread more thinly. That Georgia district is now considered a toss-up by political handicappers.

Target list

With election day upon us, we can see where Bliss and his team will be focused as the results come in tomorrow.

Excluding past special elections, CLF’s biggest investment is in an open seat, California’s 39th Congressional District, where Democrat Gil Cisneros is facing off against Republican nominee Young Kim. It’s not the only Orange County seat on their list: They are also spending big against Harley Rouda, the Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher in the 49th district.

They’re also looking north of Los Angeles to California’s 25th district, where Democratic challenger Katie Hill is taking on incumbent Steve Knight. Knight’s race is one of only three that makes the top ten of both CLF’s negative spending and positive spending. The other two are Kansas’ second district and New York’s 22nd district. If you wanted to bet on Republicans pulling out wins in any three districts, it might be these.

But will all the money be enough? Even among the top targets, three of these seats are rated by forecasters as leaning toward the Democrat. The playing field is just too wide. As political analyst David Wasserman recently observed, Republicans will need to win 23 of the 30 thirty seats seen as too close to call in order to protect their majority in the House. Even the largest SuperPAC in mid-term history can’t change those odds.

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