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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan went all out in his efforts to protect the House majority, and he failed rather spectacularly. His Congressional Leadership fund raised $140 million and spent just over $120 million, about $101 million on independent expenditure ads.
This result of this spending spree was a minimum of $38 million wasted on attack ads.
Here are the new members of the House of Representatives that Ryan spent millions attacking.
California 25: Katie Hill (4.636 Million)
Much of the $4.6 million was spent on painting Hill as an ultra-liberal acolyte of Nancy Pelosi, who would raise gas taxes and raise taxes on the middle class.
California 48: Harley Rouda (3.855 Million)
The CLF issued an ad called “Shady” which attacked Rouda for his business dealings, including accusing him of outsourcing jobs to China. The CLF also misrepresented Rouda's stance on immigration.
Colorado 6: Jason Crow (2.391 Million)
The CLF attacked Bronze Star veteran Crow on his record on veterans issues. The Denver Post called the ads “grossly misleading.”
Florida 26: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (2.877 Million)
The CLF attacked Mucarsel-Powell for her husband having ties to a Ukrainian businessman. Yes, you read that right... Republicans attacking someone over their ties with Russian businessmen.
Florida 27: Donna Shalala (273 Thousand)
This one is ironic. Republicans attacked Shalala, former president of the University of Miami, as being out of touch with working people. This was really money down the drain, as Hillary Clinton won Florida 27 by 17 points.
Illinois 6: Sean Casten (2.683 Million)
Similar to Rouda, the CLF attacked Casten for being a shady businessman.
Iowa 1: Abby Finkenauer (872 Thousand)
The CLF spent most of its money attacking Finkenauer as a dangerous liberal who supports open borders and radical government health care plans (like Obamacare).
Iowa 3: Cindy Axne (2.908 Million)
The CLF accused Axne of ripping off Iowa taxpayers. The charges are untrue of course, but truth seems to have little meaning for Ryan and his staff at CLF.
Kansas 3: Sharice Davids (2.388 Million)
The CLF brought out the classic “liberal” attack on Davids, going so far as to call her “radical.” They linked Davids with Nancy Pelosi and criticized her support for national health care.
Minnesota 3: Dean Phillips (3.112 Million)
Attacks reached the height of absurdity in Minnesota 3, with Ryan attacking ice cream business owner Phillips over an $89 late fee on his taxes. The CLF also misrepresented Phillips' record on providing health insurance for his employees.
New Jersey 7: Tom Malinowski (3.542 Million)
The CFL ran an absurd ad stating that Malinowski “lobbied for terrorist's rights.” He was a lobbyist for Human Rights Watch, where he called for detainees at Guantanamo Bay to have access to legal counsel. This one was a real stretch.
New York 19: Anthony Delgado (1.501 Million)
The CLF attacked Delgado, a Rhode Scholar and graduate of Harvard Law School, for a rap video he made before he became an attorney. It attempted to paint Delgado as a foul mouthed dangerous hood.
New York 22: Anthony Brindisi (625 Thousand)
The CLF distorted the facts of Brindisi's involvement in a failed economic development plan in upstate New York.
Pennsylvania 17: Conor Lamb (Only $1047 During General; $3.022 Million During Special)
During its attacks on Lamb in the special election, the group painted him as a liberal linked with Nancy Pelosi—a common theme in CLF ads in 2018.
Texas 7: Lizzie Fletcher (2.631 Million)
In an ad called “Wrong for Texas,” the CLF again highlighted Fletcher's links with Nancy Pelosi and attacked her support of national health care.
Texas 32: Colin Allred (684 Thousand)
In Texas 32, the CLF used the exact same language as in Texas 7, simply swapping out the name of the candidate. Talk about lack of creativity.
Virginia 2: Elaine Luria (454 Thousand)
The CLF tried to tag several Democratic candidates with a “$32 trillion government takeover” of health care linked to Bernie Sanders. Naturally, the candidates did not support the plan—Luria was one falsely linked to “government take over of health care.”
Virginia 7: Abigail Spanberger (2.833 Million)
In one of their sleaziest ads, CLF attacked Spanberger, a former intelligence officer with the CIA, with being linked to a high school they dubbed “terror high.” While Spanberger did teach at the school, she left in 2003, six years before the incident the ad refers to.
For a grand total, including Lamb, of $41,288,000 spent during the 2017-2018 cycle.
Almost as interesting are races that the CLF did not invest in: Karen Handel in Georgia 6, Barbark Comstock in Virginia 10 and Randy Hultgren in Illinois 14 are three races that flipped. Perhaps they didn’t ask Ryan for money.