The conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party seemed poised for all-out war, but in Virginia; the RNC has actually tried to help Republican Ken Cuccinelli defeat sleaze bag Terry McAuliffe in the gubernatorial race. Virginia has been something of a working laboratory for the RNC in testing new models to win elections. If Cuccinelli loses tomorrow, it’s because he ran a soporific, if not abysmal, campaign.
From a RNC memo, here’s what they laid out for the Cuccinelli campaign. They gave him a communications plan, along with ways to execute outreach into the black, Latino, and Asian communities. One thing the RNC discovered is that Korean Americans hate to be polled. While the campaign didn’t use this blueprint in its entirety, conservatives cannot say truthfully that the Establishment tried to sabotage Ken.
Learning from the lessons of the 2012 election, the RNC has committed to establishing a permanent, community-based field organization across the country with an emphasis on minority engagement. In Virginia we are testing our precinct-based model to further that effort.
In Virginia, the RNC has nearly 50 offices, significantly more than we had in the state during the 2012 presidential cycle and a comparable number of staff. We are in communities we’ve never been in before and engaging voters who we haven’t talked to before. Precinct Teams, led by Precinct Captains, will canvass neighborhoods using RNC data and technology to engage with voters on what it means to be a Republican, identify and persuade voters, and improve our data by gathering more data points on potential voters across the country.
Effective Precinct Captains want to take a leadership role in their communities and will manage their teams to make sure neighborhoods are canvassed regularly to identify and persuade enough voters to win their precincts.
They are invested as the lead organizer of their precinct and have three main responsibilities: 1) all canvassing in his/her neighborhood, 2) recruiting new Precinct Team members and 3) managing the Precinct Team. We are already seeing results. In Virginia, we already have gathered more than twice the amount of voter data.
We have also served as a resource to the campaigns up and down the ballot. For example, we have conducted both mainstream and ethnic media training efforts with Cuccinelli, Obenshain, Dels. Rust, Comstock, and Hugo as well as Freddy Burgos, who is a challenger in the 41st District. We have also supplied each campaign in a competitive race with a comprehensive communications plan which includes key stats/figures/demographic info for entire state and minority communities, top reporter & ethnic media lists, surrogate information by ethnicity and media market, event opportunities. Think of it this way, Weight Watchers can’t count the calories and run the miles for you but they give you a playbook to do it – that’s what we’re focused on – giving campaigns possible event opportunities, media contacts, etc, to invest in the areas they want.
The RNC has a total of seven paid staffers dedicated to engaging minority communities and have attended numerous events on behalf of the Republican Party. The RNC has also done significant paid print, radio, and TV advertising in ethnic media outlets on behalf of candidates.
In all, the RNC has doled out $3 million dollars to perfect the Precinct Team model. It’s part of the Growth and Opportunity Project that laid out a strategy to build a permanent ground game across the country – something the RNC has never done before – while simultaneously fund the ground game in VA with staff and offices that rival last year’s presidential effort. Right now, Republicans have more data points, more people in the field, and have identified hundreds of thousands of voters beyond where we were at this time in the 2012 presidential election. Currently, the thought of a McAuliffe victory on November 5 has given the base a wake up call – and they’re now coming home for Cuccinelli. Yet, did this surge happen too late?