BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The 2018 election may be 15 months away, but one national super PAC is already gearing up for midterm elections.
The Congressional Leadership Fund (CFL) recently opened a campaign office in Bloomington, Minnesota focusing on the state’s third Congressional District. CLF, a super PAC focused on protecting the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, is hoping to help Rep. Erik Paulsen win a sixth term next year.
Paulsen’s district has been singled out as a high-priority race coming into the 2018 election. In the 2016 election, the district went for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Paulsen won the district with 56.7 percent of the vote in 2016.
CLF has identified 14 high-priority races, including Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, coming into the 2018 election. These races are ones that went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite also electing a Republican to Congress. Paulsen has been labeled one of the “most vulnerable” House Republicans already being singled out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“The national Democrats have made it very clear that he’s one of their top targets,” CLF Executive Director Corry Bliss told the Star Tribune. “We have one mission, and one mission only, and that’s to help win the tough House races. We look at races where we can invest time and resources and make a difference.”
CLF is not only donating money to races, but also helping with the ground game in some of the most at-risk Republican districts. In the Bloomington office, politically active teens are making phone calls and going door-to-door talking with Paulsen’s constituents. CLF recently reported knocking on over one million doors in 13 key districts since the start of the year.
CLF’s website features a page dedicated to Paulsen’s race. The super PAC is focusing on some of Paulsen’s more unifying stances including his fight to end human trafficking and what the representative is doing to battle the opioid crisis.
Paulsen or any of his DFL contenders have yet to open any campaign offices within the district. However, according to the Star Tribune, Bliss believes it is never too early to start campaigning.
“There’s no off season anymore,” Bliss told the Star Tribune.
Paulsen’s most notable Democratic challenger is wealthy businessman and philanthropist Dean Phillips. Phillips, heir to Phillips Distilling company, recently touted a “record-breaking haul” raising $527,585 during the second quarter (April 1 to June 30). However, Paulsen outraised his opponent, bringing in $565,587 last quarter.