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

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

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Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of fracking, and what it means for the future of American energy, with Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group.

Democrats sound alarm on mail-in votes

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Democrats are calling a last-minute audible on mail-in voting after last night's Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin.

Driving the news: Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes. They are warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

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