Republican House Speaker Ryan has his money arm out to save the day for the party in the midterm elections that look like a Democratic ‘wave ‘ election….
The initiative by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), now includes 34 offices running mini-campaigns for vulnerable Republicans throughout the country. It has built its own in-house research and data teams and recruited 4,000 student volunteers, who have knocked on more than 10 million doors since February 2017.
The operation far eclipses the group’s activity in any previous election, when CLF didn’t have a single volunteer or field office. At this time last election cycle, the group had raised $2 million. As of Tuesday, CLF — which markets itself to donors as a super PAC dedicated to saving the House majority and can collect contributions with no dollar limit — had hauled in more than $71 million.
That war chest and new infrastructure could be a significant factor in an election year dominated by expectations of a Democratic wave fueled by a backlash against President Donald Trump.
“We have to do everything bigger and better to have a chance,” Corry Bliss, CLF’s executive director, said in a recent interview sandwiched between fundraising events with Ryan. (The speaker attends the events as a draw, but Bliss asks for cash later, in accordance with campaign finance law.) “If we do the same BS, cookie-cutter ads, we’re going to lose.”
CLF’s midterm strategy, which emphasizes long-term voter engagement, is not normal for a super PAC. Typically, lawmakers’ campaigns and the National Republican Congressional Committee deal with field work and get-out-the-vote efforts — then PACs like CLF swoop in to fill in the blanks with what Bliss often refers to as “shitty TV ads.
But Ryan’s political allies decided last year that that model wasn’t working — and that CLF, with its seemingly endless resources, was a “sleeping giant,”….