American Crossroads, the conservative independent organization promising to spend upwards of $50 million on races this fall, has settled on 11 targeted Senate contests, according to sources briefed on the group's plans.
In each of the 11 races -- in Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois and Washington state -- American Crossroads plans to hire a media consultant and pollster tasked with crafting a tailored message.
The group's first foray into a race came earlier this week in Nevada when it dropped about $120,000 on a week-long television buy that hits Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on his support for the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
Wilson Grand is handling the ads for American Crossroads in Nevada while Jan van Lohuizen of Voter/Consumer Research, who handled polling for President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election bid, will play the same role for the conservative group in the Silver State.
Sources familiar with the group, which was formed in the spring with the blessing of major GOP figures including Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, cast the selection of Senate targets as evidence that it is beginning to function in the way it was imagined.
As further evidence, they point to the hires of Carl Forti, a former political director for Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential camp, to a similar role for American Crossroads as well as Chris McInerney, another former Romney aide, as the organization's research director.