To be sure, Crossroads' decisions have proven to be strategically sound, helping stronger candidates prevail through difficult primaries. In Doheny, Stefanik faced a flawed candidate who lost the district twice before and had been photographed making out with one of his fundraising consultants. Sullivan, meanwhile, boasted a compelling resume as a Marine Corps officer, presidential adviser, and statewide officeholder in Alaska. He proved his fundraising viability before Crossroads backed his campaign, while his leading Republican opponent, Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, has struggled to put together a professional operation.
But critics of the group's tactics argue that valuable resources were diverted to an inconsequential House primary, when other Republican establishment groups were fighting to save Sen. Thad Cochran's career in Mississippi, and by extension, the GOP's Senate prospects. After Cochran finished second in the initial primary, Crossroads publicly telegraphed it wasn't doing anything more to help the embattled incumbent for the runoff. Crossroads has also stayed out of other contested Republican primaries where the quality of the nominee made a big difference, like in Georgia and Iowa. By contrast, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has played an outsize role in nominating fights this cycle, aired ads in those races on behalf of Joni Ernst and Rep. Jack Kingston.