THE SUN HAD SET ON THE NORTHWEST SIDE OF Omaha, and the Christmas lights had come on when a carload of young political canvassers pulled up in front of a brick house in the tony neighborhood known as Champions Run. The activists, some of them still in high school, checked the app that picked their specific political targets and hustled to the front door to make their pitch for GOP Representative Don Bacon. Their talking points focused on Bacon’s service as an Air Force brigadier general and wing commander at nearby Offutt Air Force Base, and his support of the Republicans’ tax-cut package.“Did you vote for him last time?” one of the super PAC’s volunteers cheerfully asked the voter, who greeted the visitors on his front steps. It was 341 days before the 2018 midterm elections.
Welcome to the campaign to keep Congress in Republican hands. The effort to save Bacon’s seat started all the way back in March. While it may seem early for canvassers to be knocking on doors, House Republican leaders believe control of the chamber will come down to the battle to win over a small number of key voters in about 30 districts. And so they have entrusted the $100 million effort to protect the party’s majority to a hard-charging 35-year-old strategist with a brusque manner and a knack for winning tough races. “There are more of us than them,” Corry Bliss explains about Bacon’s district as he rides back from the door-knocking