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Charles Koch speaks at the network's 2018 winter seminar. Photo: Seminar Network.

The Koch network will engage early in what it sees as difficult elections for the GOP in 2018; the plan is to start with advertising, then ramp up their grassroots efforts the second half of the year. Koch had earlier announced plans to spend up to $400 million, its largest investment in midterms ever.

Why this matters: This shows how seriously the network is taking 2018 and just how vulnerable GOP control of Washington and states governments is. The network has already identified competitive races it'll be active in and candidates it'll be supporting.

Koch has deemed 14 Senate races are as competitive, and these four states have a candidate meeting the network's criteria:

  • Wisconsin, challenging Sen. Tammy Baldwin
  • Indiana, challenging Sen. Joe Donnelly
  • Missouri, challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill
  • Florida, challenging Sen. Bill Nelson

House races: Specific strategies will develop later, but as Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips said, “2010 is similar to 2018, with one big difference: This year, we’re on defense.”

State races: The network is analyzing 15 gubernatorial races and has already identified five with candidates meeting their criteria: Nevada, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Florida.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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