Republicans had hoped to demonstrate to their donors the efficacy of a twin messaging strategy that can be employed in other races in the fall. Starting in January, they committed millions to largely unanswered television ads that sought to tie Lamb to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), the Democrat who polls showed was poorly regarded in the state. They also blanketed the district with spots promoting the Republican tax cuts passed in December. They also sent dozens of field staffers to the state to turn out the party’s base.
Republican internal polling showed that the popularity of the tax cut rose over the last two months in the district, outstripping gains elsewhere in the country, and Pelosi remained far less popular than Trump in the final weeks of the race. But the strategy did not prevent a massive swing in support to the Democratic candidate.