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Campaign staff listen as Amy McGrath, a Democratic challenger for Congress, talks at her office in Richmond, Ky., Oct. 2, 2018. The Republican incumbent, Rep. Andy Barr, and his allies have spent more than $3 million on attack ads; McGrath has aired none. Their race will test the long-held proposition that though voters find negative ads distasteful, they do work. (Maddie McGarvey/The New York Times)