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Tags: RNC

Are Democrats Set to Win the Get-Out-the-Vote Fight in 2014?



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Hmmm. The Atlantic’s Molly Ball takes a long look at the respective get-out-the-vote operations of Democrats and Republicans in Arkansas and sees a familiar disparity:

Republicans now have 11 offices open across Arkansas, party officials told me, all of them staffed by field organizers. They have recruited “hundreds” of volunteers, and the RNC has had staff here for almost a year. This effort is indeed bigger than anything the party previously built in this state. “We clearly have the largest mobilization we’ve had in my memory, which is pretty good,” the state GOP chairman, Doyle Webb, tells me, crediting the RNC for stepping up its game. “We’ve been waiting for the cavalry, and now it’s here.”

But the Republicans’ effort pales in comparison to what the Democrats have built: Democrats are spending more than five times as much money in Arkansas, and have four times as many field offices and triple the number of staff. In the month of July alone, the Arkansas Democratic Party reported nearly $900,000 in federal campaign spending, while Arkansas Republicans reported $155,000. (Most of the money the Democrats are spending has come directly from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.) Democrats listed 64 staffers on their payroll; Republicans listed 22. The RNC claims it has 50 people on the payroll in Arkansas, including some being paid by other GOP committees, but I could not find a record of them and staffers on the ground were not aware of them. According to public records, there are Democratic staffers in places like Cabot (population 24,000), Marion (12,000), Arkadelphia (11,000), and Dardanelle, Tom Cotton’s hometown, with fewer than 5,000 residents.

It’s possible that there’s a law of diminishing returns with field offices; after a while you’re renting space and hiring staffers for a smaller and smaller increase in the number of votes for your side. Or perhaps candidate quality and charisma matters; it’s probably a lot easier to get irregular or newly registered voters to show up to vote for President Obama in a presidential election year than for Senator Mark Pryor in a midterm-election year.

But if those aren’t true, and Pryor does better than expected on Election Day . . . the GOP will have relearned a hard lesson from 2012.

Why do Democrats win more? Because they want it more. And their donor class is willing to spend more money to insure that they win — at least in most cases:

The RNC has raised $11 million more than the DNC, but the DCCC has raised $37 million more than the NRCC, and in the race for control of the Senate, the Democrats are a whopping $27 million ahead of the Republican’s senatorial committee. Wasn’t winning the Senate the top GOP priority this year? Wouldn’t you think Republican donors would be flooding that committee with cash and resources?

Is it that Republicans prefer to give to the candidate’s campaign? In Arkansas, Pryor is handily outraising and outspending Cotton.

Is it that Republicans prefer to give to outside groups? How good are those outside groups at getting out the vote on Election Day? Or in absentee and early voting?

Tags: NRSC , DSCC , NRCC , DCCC , RNC , DNC , Arkansas

Cleveland Rocks . . . the 2016 Republican Convention.



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Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee announced the selection of Cleveland to host the 2016 Republican National Committee.

Hosting the GOP national convention and officially nominating the presidential candidate in a given state does not help that presidential candidate win the state. Republicans did not win Florida in 2012 (Tampa). They did not win Minnesota in 2008 (St. Paul). They did not win New York in 2004 (New York City). They did not win Pennsylvania in 2000 (Philadelphia). They did not win California in 1996 (San Diego). The last time Republicans won the state that hosted the GOP convention was 1992, when Houston hosted them.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats did not win North Carolina in 2012 (Charlotte). They won Colorado in 2008 (Denver), Massachusetts in 2004 (Boston), California in 2000 (Los Angeles), and Illinois in 1996 (Chicago).

If a convention host city doesn’t help a party win a state, what does it do? On the margins, it offers a bit of a narrative. Had Republicans picked the other finalist, Dallas, lazy, liberal-leaning reporters would have reiterated all the usual sneers: Republicans are the party of the South, the party of rural America, the party of rednecks, gun-owners, country music, J. R. Ewing and big oil companies, cowboy boots, and so on. Of course, Dallas also symbolizes the Texas jobs boom, the energy boom, and the fact that so many Americans are flocking to the state to live their American dream.

But Priebus said logistics were the preeminent factor in the decision. The 2012 GOP convention hosted 2,286 delegates, 2,125 alternates, and 15,000 credentialed members of the media, and tens of thousands of other uncredentialed media, gawkers, politics junkies, and protesters. The security issues for any host city are huge, both for protesters and as a potential terrorist target.

Ironically, for most participants, host cities are relatively interchangable — hotel rooms, hunts for parking, security barriers and check points, a big arena with spotty wireless and cellular service, and sponsored parties at fancy restaurants.

Another benefit for those who remember the mess in Tampa in 2012 . . . Cleveland doesn’t often encounter hurricanes.

Cleveland’s biggest cheerleader, Hugh Hewitt, is expected to reenact the opening credits to The Drew Carey Show in the near future:

Tags: Cleveland , RNC

The First Votes of the Next GOP Presidential Primary Will Be Cast in February 2016



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The Republican National Committee adopted new rules for the 2016 presidential primary today:

o The carve outs (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) remain in February

o Other states can start their contests on or after March 1

o The proportional window is reinstated but for a shorter duration. Any contest between March 1st and March 14th will be proportional

(This means that the early states cannot allocate their delegates in a winner-take-all format.)

o Any contest after March 14th can go proportional or winner take all

o The window for selection of alternates and delegates moved from 35 days before the convention to 45 days before the convention. There is a waiver process for states that are required by law to hold a primary but are not in compliance with the 45 day window and aren’t under Republican control.

o New penalties: “If any state or state Republican Party violates Rule No. 16(c)(1) of The Rules of the Republican Party, the number of delegates to the national convention shall be reduced for those states with 30 or more total delegates to nine (9) plus the members of the Republican National Committee from that state, and for those states with 29 or fewer total delegates to six (6) plus the members of the Republican National Committee from that state. The corresponding alternate delegates shall also be reduced accordingly.

March 1 is a Tuesday, so look for that to become the new Super Tuesday.

If the first four states space themselves out, the Iowa caucus will be February 2, 2016 (Groundhog Day!), the New Hampshire primary will be February 9, the South Carolina primary will be February 16, and the Nevada caucus will be February 23. (UPDATE: University of Iowa professor Tim Hagle tweets that the Iowa caucuses are usually held on a Monday, so he thinks it’s more likely that the caucus will be February 1.)

The RNC also named twelve members to its 2016 Convention Site Selection Committee. The RNC has not specified the date of the convention, but chairman Reince Priebus said he wants a “late June, early July” convention. In recent cycles, the parties have held their conventions in late August or early September, trying to get their post-convention bump as close to the fall campaign as possible.

Cities competing to host the 2016 Republican convention include Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, Kansas City, and Columbus, Ohio.

Tags: Iowa , New Hampshire , 2016 , RNC

Does the RNC Deserve the Blame for Cuccinelli’s Loss?



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Arguments in favor of blaming the Republican National Committee for Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat:

* At the end of September, the RNC had $11.2 million in cash on hand.

* The RNC spent $3 million in Virginia developing its “precinct team model” instead of television advertising, where Cuccinelli was getting creamed every commercial break.

* The RNC spent $1.5 million in New Jersey in a race Christie was certain to win anyway, including a half-million dollars on minorities who were open to voting Republican.

Arguments against blaming the Republican National Committee for Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat:

* Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign was always likely to be outspent by Terry McAuliffe, but he and his campaign had to try to keep the margin as close as possible. Instead, the gap became gargantuan, $15 million. To his credit, Cuccinelli raised only slightly less than McDonnell raised four years ago, $20 million to McDonnell’s $21 million.

* If the polling had shown a closer race, the RNC undoubtedly would have committed more money. But only two out of 25 polls conducted in Virginia since mid-September showed McAuliffe leading by less than 5 points. Most had the Democrat leading by 7 to 9 points.

* The $9 million that the RNC spent on behalf of Bob McDonnell in 2009 was part of the Michael Steele’s big-borrowing, big-spending era, which took the committee from $23 million in the bank at the beginning of 2009 (mostly from transfers from unused funds of the McCain-Palin campaign) to $22 million in debt. Today the RNC has no debt.

* The RNC is a “hard money” institution, meaning there are limits on how much a donor can give. Virginia’s laws limiting donations and activity is much more lax, meaning both Cuccinelli and the state party were free to accept much larger donations. At any point, any wealthy Republican billionaire could have written a check for $10 million helping out Cuccinelli. For example, Bill Clinton wrote a check for $100,000 to McAuliffe.

* Next year, the RNC faces a gargantuan lift. There are a good half-dozen or so competitive Senate races against Democrat incumbents (Alaska, Arkansas, perhaps Colorado, Louisiana, possibly Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, possibly Oregon, possibly Virginia), open-seat Senate races in Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and West Virginia, and potentially vulnerable Senate incumbents to defend in Kentucky and Maine. Then they have competitive gubernatorial races against Democrat incumbents in Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and perhaps a few others, open-seat gubernatorial races in Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, and vulnerable gubernatorial incumbents to defend in Florida, Maine, Michigan, possibly Nevada, possibly New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. And then there are the House races. Put simply, there are only so many races where the RNC can commit $5 million to 10 million.

* According to OpenSecrets.org, the DNC spent nothing or (depending on some late filing of forms) next to nothing on McAuliffe.

Tags: Ken Cuccinelli , RNC , Reince Priebus , Terry McAuliffe

It’s the Morning After. Firing Squad, Assume Circular Formation!



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Woke up this morning with a headache and a blue moon in my eyes. From the Morning Jolt:

Ken Cuccinelli, Finishing Better Than Anyone Expected . . . for Whatever That’s Worth.

Boy, it’s too bad elections don’t have point spreads, huh?

Late last night, Kristina Ribali of FreedomWorks asked, “Cuccinelli did better than Romney, right?”

It depends upon your measuring stick. Cuccinelli finished closer than Romney, but won a smaller share of the vote. Obama won, 51.1 percent to 47.28 percent. At this hour, McAuliffe won, 48 percent to 45.5 percent.

At some point, accounting for all the variables gets maddening. Cuccinelli was drastically outspent . . . but he had a worse opponent. It’s an off-year election, with lower turnout that traditionally is an advantage for Republicans . . . but he had to run away from the incumbent because of Governor Bob McDonnell’s gift scandal.

Then again, maybe he shouldn’t have, judging from CNN’s exit poll: “Virginia voters actually approve of McDonnell’s job performance by 12 points (53%-41%).”

Cuccinelli indisputably was hurt by the government shutdown . . . but then he indisputably was helped by running against Obamacare in the closing days.

As Tuesday night wore on, the Republican firing squad assumed its traditional circular formation. Here’s a scorecard of the scapegoats:

It was the RNC’s fault! On Twitter, a lot of folks were calling for Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus’s blood, noting that the RNC spent $3 million helping Cuccinelli this year after spending $9 million to help Bob McDonnell in 2009. The RNC’s had a better year than its Democratic counterpart, raising about $60.9 million this year, compared to $47 million for the DNC (and the DNC still has $17 million in unpaid debt from last year).

Here’s the short version of the RNC’s summary of what they did to help Cuccinelli:

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…

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.

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.

Was that enough?

Keep in mind, this race has looked pretty tough for Cuccinelli since at least midsummer. How much money do Republicans want the RNC throwing in to help a candidate trailing by 7 or 8 or 9 points?

I’ll tell you this: if Cuccinelli had been within two or three points consistently this fall, the RNC would have spent a heck of a lot more money than it did. The problem is that from about mid-summer until, oh, one hour after the polls closed, Ken Cuccinelli looked like a dead man walking in this race. Bad polls, quiet debate performances, brutal coverage, an inability to capitalize on tough coverage of McAuliffe’s scandals . . . 

It’s Cuccinelli’s fault! Earlier this week, I said you can’t get outspent by $15 million and win a statewide race. Apparently I should have added an asterisk and said you can keep it close. Cuccinelli got a lot of help from right-leaning groups; a fair question is whether he raised enough himself to keep himself in the ballpark with McAuliffe: the Republican Governors Association spent $8 million to help Cuccinelli. The NRA Political Victory Fund kicked in $600,000. Focus on the Family, $238,000.

As an attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli rarely ducked a fight and in fact picked fights that some Republicans might have avoided. The problem was that he didn’t want to run for reelection as that guy. Of course, Terry McAuliffe’s ad team was determined to turn Cuccinelli into a horrific funhouse mirror-version of that guy.

From Ben Domenech, a.k.a., that guy who writes that other newsletter:

Cuccinelli had the baggage of his past fights which the left used very well. This is true of Cuccinelli’s fights on marriage, abortion, climate, but particularly true of the issue of his defense of a sodomy statute on the books in Virginia. I doubt Cuccinelli ever realized how big of a liability this would be, but again, he’d have been better off defending himself vocally than shying away from it. Gay Republicans openly compared Cuccinelli to David Duke, and the indication that Cuccinelli wants to go around rounding up people for engaging in consensual sex was ubiquitous to any conversation about him on social media. Of course, in my county, there are nine convicted child abusers and sex offenders who were convicted under the statute, and I’d like to know which ones of them deserve to go off the books . . . but that defense was never offered.

It was the Libertarians’ fault! Let’s get one thing straight: A big chunk of Robert Sarvis’s voters aren’t really libertarians, or they don’t fit a definition you and I would offer for that philosophy. As Biased Girl and I have observed, some sub-segment of standard-issue liberals are self-identifying as libertarians, sort of a political hipsterism. They get to keep all of their usual liberal views on social issues, support smaller government in theory but never in practice, complain about taxes, and act like they’re so much more sophisticated than everyone else.

Jonah Goldberg’s self-proclaimed “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” friend “Bob” fits this description.

Sarvis’ voters are young – he got 15 percent of voters between 18 and 29. He took 15 percent of those who self-identified as “independents,” 8 percent of those who identified as moderate or liberal Republicans, and 4 percent of those who self-identify as liberal Democrats. Among those who said they “somewhat oppose” Obamacare, he took 17 percent; among those who said they “somewhat support” Obamacare, he took 10 percent.

One glitch in the theory from the exit polling:

Libertarian Robert Sarvis, may have made it closer for McAuliffe than it would have been otherwise. Had he not been on the ballot, a third of his voters said they’d have supported McAuliffe – slightly more than twice as many as said they’d have gone for Cuccinelli.

It’s the Tea Party’s fault! Under this narrative, Chris Christie won because he’s a moderate, Cuccinelli lost because he’s a scary Tea Partier, and New York is now run by the Sandinistas because the country is rejecting conservatism in all its forms.

There’s a molecule of truth to those arguments; perhaps more significant to Tea Partiers is the result in that special U.S. House election in Alabama:

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bradley Byrne, a staid former state senator, led Dean Young, a conservative real estate developer who likened himself to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.

But then you look down ticket, and you see the candidate on the Right beating the candidate on the Left over and over again. You see it in the Virginia House of Delegates elections . . . where Republicans won 67 out of 100 seats.

You see it in Colorado’s referenda on tax hikes for education . . . 

Voters emphatically rejected a $950 million tax increase and the school funding revamp that came with it, handing Amendment 66 a resounding defeat Tuesday night.

. . . and you see it in New York outside of the city

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino gave his victory speech a few minutes before 11 p.m. Tuesday night, according to the Journal News. At midnight, the incumbent had 55 percent of the vote with more than half of precincts reporting. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano also declared victory, claiming 60 percent of the vote, Newsday reported.

Astorino has been floated as a possible challenger for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and although he’ll face a significant fundraising challenge and the governor’s relatively high popularity, his win in the affluent suburb where Democrats have a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage shows he has cross-party appeal.

And we’ll be playing woulda-coulda-shoulda for a few weeks. High among them: Would Cuccinelli have reversed these results with another couple of weeks of brutal coverage of Obamacare’s rollout?

Tags: Terry McAuliffe , Ken Cuccinelli , RNC , Chris Christie , Libertarians , Tea Party

Why Would the GOP Want Kathleen Sebelius Fired?



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It seems both sides in the Obamacare fight have their positions exactly backward.

The Republican National Committee is tweeting #FireSebelius and their website homepage features a petition demanding that President Obama sack the head of the department in charge of carrying out his signature health reform initiative. The petition calls the glitch-ridden rollout of Healthcare.gov a “systemic failure” and says Sebelius should be held accountable for ignoring “red flags and repeated warnings that Obamacare wasn’t ready for primetime.”

The White House said Tuesday it has no plans to get rid of Sebelius.

If you think Sebelius is a blitheringly incompetent leader and manager, who ignores red flags and who is now requiring underlings to attempt increasingly implausible, desperate spin, and you want to see Obamacare go away . . . why would you want to get rid of her? The next HHS secretary might be better at the job.

And if you’ve staked your entire presidency on the success of Obamacare, you would want to toss her out immediately, if for no other reason than to assure the public that you won’t accept failure on this scale.

You could also believe that Sebelius is doing the best job humanly possible.

(sound of crickets)

Or there’s Option C: that Sebelius isn’t a particularly good leader or manager, but that the problems of Obamacare are built-in, and don’t really reflect her decisions — the website had to be built to handle massive traffic, collect oodles of personal information, connect a variety of government databases, calculate the subsidies, and then hide the costs to the purchaser for as long as possible, all while training ”navigators” to manage a process that usually is handled by a professional insurance agent.

If anything, Sebelius’s most key role so far has been as a terrible, terrible spokeswoman for this program, incapable of answering basic questions from Jon Stewart:

But if she’s a terrible, terrible spokeswoman, and you oppose Obamacare . . . why would you want to replace her?

Tags: Kathleen Sebelius , RNC , Obamacare

Examining the ‘Obamacosts’ of Obamacare



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The RNC unveiled a new web site, “Obamacosts,” explaining the costs and consequences of implementing Obamacare.

This Peoria, Ill., television news report quotes weight-loss-clinic business owner Kurtis Freidag saying, “Some of the people that have been full time, we’re definitely going to need to make them a part-time employee, or we’d be forced to offer everyone benefits, or pay a penalty. . . . If we did offer benefits, we would, without question, have to take a price increase.”

The New York Times recently wrote about the law’s impact on California’s agriculture workers:

Insurance brokers and health providers familiar with California’s $43.5 billion agricultural industry estimate that meeting the law’s minimum health plan requirement will cost about $1 per hour per employee worked in the field…

Farm labor contractors generally rely on a 2 percent profit, and they say they will have to pass the added health care costs required by the law on to growers…

On a recent morning, Jose Romero pulled weeds from a row of lush tomato plants. Mr. Romero, 36, arrived at the field around 5 a.m. and worked until sunset. Like many of the other workers in the tomato field, he was surprised to learn that his employer, Mr. Herrin at Sunrise Farm Labor, would have to offer him health coverage, and that he could be asked to contribute up to 9.5 percent of his wages to cover the costs.

“We eat, we pay rent and no more,” Mr. Romero said in Spanish. “The salary that they give you here, to pay insurance for the family, it wouldn’t be enough.”

There seems to be widespread agreement among agricultural employers, insurance brokers and health plans in California that low-wage farmworkers cannot be asked to pay health insurance premiums. “He’s making $8 to $9 an hour, and you’re asking him to pay for something that’s he’s not going to use?” Mr. Herrin said.

We’re going to help the farm workers by taking 76 to 85 cents per hour out of their pockets?

Tags: RNC , Obamacare

Could NBC’s Hillary Docu-Drama End Up Canceled?



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This is an interesting, if unconfirmed, rumor:

NBC sources tell FTVLive that the NBC suits have figured the Clinton miniseries “just isn’t worth it.”

Word is that NBC is going to let it quietly go away without saying a word.

NBC does not want to make it look like the RNC or their own news people “got [their] way,” so the project will likely die in the “in development” stage.

One NBC source told FTVLive that the miniseries has gone from a 90% “go” to more like a a 60% “No go.” 

If this scenario comes to pass, doesn’t Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus suddenly become a hero to the GOP grassroots, as “The Guy Who Got the Hillary Biopic Canceled”? Or would the comments from Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, and Robert Gibbs be considered bigger factors?

Tags: Hillary Clinton , NBC , RNC , Reince Priebus

Ahem. Fox Television Studios Is Not ‘Fox News Channel.’



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Barring a dramatic turn of events, today Republican National Committee members will vote to bar CNN and NBC News from sponsoring GOP presidential debates in 2016, in response to a planned CNN documentary and an NBC docudrama on Hillary Clinton. RNC chair Reince Priebus charges that the two works amount to free advertising for the widely expected Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

This morning Joe Scarborough scoffed, noting that Fox Television Studios is in talks to produce the Hillary mini-series.

But the issue, of course, is not who’s producing it; the issue is the content. A better defense from the networks would be that the documentary and docudrama are still being written and produced, and will aim to represent a broad range of aspects of Clinton’s career in the public eye, and not amount to airbrushed propaganda. Both works could, conceivably, be even-handed — although most directors wouldn’t cast good-looking, glamorous, warm and relatable Diane Lane to play a villainess character like Lady Macbeth.

The notion that Fox Television Studios’ involvement in the production absolves the film of a pro-Hillary bias is pretty laughable. Fox Television Studios’ purpose is entertainment, not journalism. (Note that Fox Television Studios is a distinct entity from Fox Broadcasting Company, the network that airs The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.; both are part of Fox Entertainment Group, which was formerly part of News Corporation.) Fox Television Studios can be called many things, but it can safely be ruled out as part of the vast right-wing conspiracy, with such works as The Shield, Burn Notice, White Collar, the Playboy-affiliated series The Girls Next Door and its spin-offs, the Howard Stern–produced Son of the Beach . . . 

Someone out there will probably insist, “Yeah, but Rupert Murdoch controls the whole thing” — a mischaracterization of him being the chairman and CEO of publicly traded company. It’s obvious that Murdoch’s politics don’t influence Fox’s entertainment programming, seen when The Simpsons mocks Fox News . . . 

 . . . and when Family Guy depicted Nazis walking around with McCain-Palin buttons in an October 2008 episode.

Tags: Fox News , Hillary Clinton , RNC

RNC: Move to Regional Primaries After ‘Carve-Out’ States



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Here’s the RNC “Growth and Opportunity Project” recommendations for the 2016 presidential primaries:

1. The Republican Convention should be held earlier in the summer. It should be moved to late June or sometime in July, allowing our nominee more time to begin the general election phase. (Note: The 2016 Olympics will be held August 5-21.)

2. Because the nominee will still need an estimated 60-90 days to prepare for the Convention,changes will need to be made to the primary calendar. If the Convention were to be held in July, the last primary would need to be held no later than May 15. If the Convention were to be held in late June, the final primary would need to be held no later than April 30.Moving primaries up will require states and state parties to cooperate.

3. We take no position on whether a contest should be winner take all or proportionate.The fact is, both methods can delay or speed up the likelihood of a nominee being chosen. It all depends on who is winning and by what margins in each primary or caucus election.

4. To facilitate moving up primary elections to accommodate an earlier convention, the Party should strongly consider a regional primary system or some other form of a major reorganization instead of the current system. The current system is a long, winding, often random road that makes little sense. It stretches the primaries out too long, forces our candidates to run out of money, and because some states vote so late, voters in those states never seem to count. Such a change would allow for a broader group of Republicans to play a role in selecting our nominee.

5. Recognizing the traditions of several states that have early nominating contests, the newly organized primaries would begin only after the “carve-out” states have held their individual elections. It remains important to have an “on ramp” of small states that hold unique primary days before the primary season turns into a multi-state process with many states voting on one day. The idea of a little-known candidate having a fair chance remains important.

6. We also recommend broadening the base of the Party and inviting as many voters as possible into the Republican Party by discouraging conventions and caucuses for the purpose of allocating delegates to the national convention. Our party needs to grow its membership,and primaries seem to be a more effective way to do so. The greater the number of people who vote in a Republican primary, the more likely they will turn out and vote again for the Republican candidate in the fall election.

A big question: Which states will qualify as “carve out” under a future plan? The Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, almost certainly. Will South Carolina remain as “first in the South”? Will the Nevada caucus remain in the early mix? Will Florida be able to retain its status as the first large state?

Note that primary dates are selected by the states — although the national committee can punish the states that they deem have scheduled it too early by taking away some or most of their delegates. Probably the most high-profile example of this came in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008, with the big states of Michigan and Florida:

The Democratic National Committee determined that the date of the Michigan Democratic Primary violated the party rules and ultimately decided to sanction the state, stripping all 156 delegates and refusing to seat them at the convention. Despite this, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the primary could go ahead as scheduled. The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee later met on May 31, 2008, and agreed to seat all of Michigan’s delegates with each delegate having only receive half a vote. As a result of this compromise, Michigan had 78 votes at the convention. On August 24, the delegates had full voting rights restored.

Every state wants to go early, of course, and the front-loading too many primaries too early makes it nearly impossible for any underdog to catch fire.

As Priebus told me back in January, the RNC ultimately controls the nomination process – and through this, they can influence both the candidates and the states: “There is one major reason that a presidential candidate needs the Republican party: To get on the ballot in November, a presidential candidate must get a majority of delegates at a national convention to vote for him or her. If the presidential candidate can’t make that happen, he or she is not on the ballot.”

Also note the strong endorsement of eliminating caucuses (hurrah) and the implied endorsement of open primaries. Many conservatives are convinced that their preferred candidates lose GOP primaries because non-Republicans vote in the primaries; they contend that if you want to select a party’s presidential nominee, you ought to register with that party. Alternately, some fear mischief-making “Operation Chaos” style efforts by Democrats.

This may be less of an issue in 2016, if there is a competitive Democratic presidential primary going on during the GOP presidential primary.

Tags: Primaries , RNC

RNC: Come See Our New ‘Growth and Opportunity Project’



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The Republican National Committee has unveiled its web site for its “Growth and Opportunity Project,” an initiative established to help grow the Republican party and influence future Republican campaigns. At this point, the site’s primary feature is a survey.

I discussed the project with RNC chairman Reince Priebus back in December, and one of the noteworthy ideas was the RNC changing the rules and setup for the 2016 presidential primary, as well as attempting to provide some structure and order to the presidential-debate schedule in the primaries:

GERAGHTY: One of the intriguing points I saw raised in the discussions that this group has had is the recommendation of changes to the presidential-primary schedule. Are you hoping to see changes in how the primaries are set up?

PRIEBUS: One of the major topics that people discuss is the debate issue — controlling the debates and tying the nomination process to the debate calendar — is something we’re going to look at. Now, we didn’t have that opportunity two years ago; there is no mechanism to tie the nomination process to the debate calendar. But we have that opportunity now. We can do that with a three-quarters vote of the Republican National Committee. Here’s a hypothetical. The RNC could hypothetically say, “Look, here’s the debate calendar. Here are the moderators. We’re going to have one debate a month starting on this day.” And adherence to the calendar will be a requirement to achieving the nomination to the presidency — either through bonus delegates or penalties of delegates subtracted. There is one major reason that a presidential candidate needs the Republican party: To get on the ballot in November, a presidential candidate must get a majority of delegates at a national convention to vote for him or her. If the presidential candidate can’t make that happen, he or she is not on the ballot. So that is one idea that we will be looking at.

If you have ten presidential candidates, and seven out of ten or eight out of ten will take whatever two-hour slot that is open to them, then you end up with a debate any time some cable network decides to hold one. You can’t control that situation. Our endeavor is to come up with some idea that helps us control that situation.

Tags: Reince Priebus , RNC

RNC May Try to Limit Number, Format of GOP Debates in 2016



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Over on the home page, I have an interview with Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, mostly discussing the RNC”s new Growth and Opportunity Project, which is led by a five-member panel that will review their operations and strategies and those of the Republican party as a whole. Perhaps most intriguing and newsworthy was Priebus’s comment about an effort to limit the number of GOP presidential-primary debates and the format in 2016.

GERAGHTY: One of the intriguing points I saw raised in the discussions that this group has had is the recommendation of changes to the presidential-primary schedule. Are you hoping to see changes in how the primaries are set up?

PRIEBUS: One of the major topics that people discuss is the debate issue — controlling the debates and tying the nomination process to the debate calendar is something we’re going to look at. Now, we didn’t have that opportunity two years ago; there is no mechanism to tie the nomination process to the debate calendar. But we have that opportunity now. We can do that with a three-quarters vote of the Republican National Committee. Here’s a hypothetical. The RNC could hypothetically say, “Look, here’s the debate calendar. Here are the moderators. We’re going to have one debate a month starting on this day.” And adherence to the calendar will be a requirement to achieving the nomination to the presidency — either through bonus delegates or penalties of delegates subtracted. There is one major reason that a presidential candidate needs the Republican party: To get on the ballot in November, a presidential candidate must get a majority of delegates at a national convention to vote for him or her. If the presidential candidate can’t make that happen, he or she is not on the ballot. So that is one idea that we will be looking at.

If you have ten presidential candidates, and seven out of ten or eight out of ten will take whatever two-hour slot that is open to them, then you end up with a debate any time some cable network decides to hold one. You can’t control that situation. Our endeavor is to come up with some idea that helps us control that situation.

There were 20 debates last cycle, including seven between January 7 and February 22. More than a few analysts wondered if the seemingly endless succession of debates hurt the Republican brand, with the time and attention divided between nine candidates some evenings, and some of those candidates having little support.

Even if every candidate on stage was worth serious consideration, it’s easy to argue that having 20 debates, and sometimes more than one per week, made each individual debate less newsworthy and important. Many of the answers sounded the same (particularly when shoehorned into two minutes or less), and after a while they sounded like contests to see which candidates could denounce Obama the most, pledge genuine economic recovery the most, praise the Tea Party the most, and so on. Voters could learn just as much about the candidates in five or ten debates.

Quite a few conservatives didn’t like some of the moderators this time around (George Stephanopoulos asking the candidates about states’ banning contraception, etc.). Perhaps the RNC will contemplate a stipulation that no former Democratic lawmakers’ staffers may moderate one of the debates.

Tags: Presidential Debates , Reince Priebus , RNC

RNC: Florida Panhandle, Colorado, Pittsburgh Looking Good



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The RNC sends along:

Exit polls show 60 percent of voters say economy is the number one issue and 60 percent say economy is getting worse or has stagnated. Voters say Romney is the best to handle the economy and they trust him to handle the deficit.

Update from Ohio – high turnout in GOP counties, low turnout in Dem counties and Biden went to Cleveland. Clearly Chicago is nervous.

Good news from the Florida panhandle, Republicans continue to outnumber Dems in Colorado, Romney had a great showing in Pittsburgh and Paul Begala is concerned with the drop in enthusiasm with young voters.

For what it’s worth, I’m hearing the GOP turnout in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, may be a record; this county was key to Pat Toomey’s win in the 2010 Senate race. The Romney campaign also sounds quite pleased about the turnout in “coal country” of Pittsburgh. But then again, these are sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

Tags: Colorado , Florida , Pennsylvania , RNC

RNC: Check Out Our Early Votes in Swing States!



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Republican National Committee Political Director Rick Wiley sends along this summary of early-voting and absentee ballot voting efforts in swing states.

I have two very minor quibbles with the bright portrait he paints. First, in a bunch of swing states, Obama won by considerable margins – 120,000 votes in Nevada; 130,000 votes in Virginia; 150,000 votes in Iowa; 240,000 votes in Florida; 400,000 votes in Wisconsin, 600,000 votes in Pennsylvania. So Romney doesn’t have to do merely better than McCain did in 2008, he has to do considerably better; secondly, the under-funded McCain effort did such a poor job in early voting in these states that it’s not the highest bar to clear.

Having said all that, the broad outlines of the early vote in this cycle are clear: Republicans outperforming their 2008 early vote effort by a wide margin and Democrats not equaling their 2008 effort in most places.

The memo:

COLORADO

  • Republicans are leading Democrats in absentee ballot requests and early votes by over 10,000 voters.
  • Republicans are outperforming voter registration by 2.13 points.
  • Republicans won the first day of early voting in Colorado. In 2008, Republicans lost early voting by nearly 4 points.
  • Republicans have made 1.5 million volunteer voter contacts in Colorado since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

FLORIDA

  • Republicans are leading Democrats in absentee ballot requests by over 44,000 voters.
  • Republicans are outperforming voter registration by 5.6 points.
  • Democrats are underperforming their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by 5.01 percentage points, while the GOP is over-performing their share by 3.78 points. The result is a net swing of +8.78 percentage points for Republicans.
  • Republicans have made over 5.7 million volunteer voter contacts in Florida since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

IOWA

  • At this point in 2008, Democrats led by almost 24 points in early voting. Today they lead by 8.3 points, a 65 percent collapse in Democrat support.
  • Almost 5,000 fewer Democrats have voted early this year than had done so at this time in 2008.
  • Democrats are underperforming their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by 0.41 percentage points, while the GOP is over-performing their share by 1.23 points. The result is a net swing of +1.65 percentage points for Republicans.Republicans have made nearly 1.1 million volunteer voter contacts in Iowa since the AB/EV turnout program began in the state.

MICHIGAN

  • AB/EV activity is down from 2008 in Democrat-leaning Washtenaw County (-5.05%).
  • AB/EV activity is up in Republican-leaning Ottawa County (7.90%).
  • Republicans have made over 1.8 million voter contacts in Michigan since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

NORTH CAROLINA

  • Republicans are outperforming our voter registration in absentee requests and early votes by nearly 2 points.
  • Democrats are underperforming their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by 3.31 percentage points, while the GOP is over-performing their share by 1.83 points. The result is a net swing of +5.14 percentage points for Republicans.
  • Republicans have narrowed the gap with Democrats in One-Stop early voting by 10.51 percentage points compared to the same point in 2008. Republicans have seen 59% growth in early voter turnout compared to 2008, while Democrats have grown by less than 20%.
  • Republicans have made nearly 2.2 million volunteer voter contacts in North Carolina since the AB/EV turnout program began in the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • Republicans lead Democrats by over 5 points in absentee ballot requests in New Hampshire’s key towns.
  • Republicans are outperforming our voter registration in absentee requests by 4 points.
  • Republicans have made over 700,000 volunteer voter contacts in New Hampshire since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

NEVADA

  • Republicans are outperforming our voter registration in absentee requests and early votes by 4 points.Democrats are underperforming their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by 2.11 percentage points, while the GOP is over-performing their share by 2.30 points. The result is a net swing of +4.41 percentage points for Republicans.
  • In Clark County, Republicans have narrowed the gap with Democrats in early voting by 13.4 percentage points compared to the same point in 2008.
  • Republicans have seen 62% growth in early voter turnout compared to this point in 2008, while Democrats have only seen 14% growth.
  • Republicans have made over 1.3 million volunteer voter contacts in Nevada since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

OHIO

  • Republicans are outperforming our share of voter registration in absentee requests and early votes by 8.73 points.
  • Democrats are underperforming their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by 7.60 percentage points, while the GOP is over-performing their share by 5.94 points. The result is a net swing of +13.54 percentage points for Republicans.
  • Republicans have closed the gap on Democrats’ historic absentee and early vote advantage for 15 of the past 16 days.
  • Republicans have made almost 3.7 million volunteer voter contacts in Ohio since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

PENNSYLVANIA

  • Republicans are leading Democrats by over 19,000 absentee requests.
  • Republicans are outperforming our share of voter registration in absentee requests by nearly 12 points.
  • Democrats are under-performing their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by 4.06 percentage points, while the GOP is over-performing their share by 2.10 points. The result is a net swing of +6.16 percentage points for Republicans.
  • Republicans have made nearly 3 million volunteer voter contacts in Pennsylvania since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

VIRGINIA

  • AB/EV activity is down from 2008 in the Democrat counties of Alexandria (-10.12%), Arlington (-13.38%), Fairfax (-6.03%).
  • AB/EV activity is up in Republican-leaning Loudoun County (14.60%).
  • Republicans have made more than 2.7 million volunteer voter contacts in Virginia since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

WISCONSIN

  • AB/EV activity is down from 2008 the Democrat counties of La Crosse (-19.25%) and Rock (-6.41%)
  • AB/EV activity is up the Republican counties of Outagamie (12.06%) and Washington (26.14%).
  • On the first day of in-person absentee voting, the Republican bastion of Waukesha County out-voted Dane County, a liberal Democrat stronghold and home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, despite visits to Madison by high-profile Democrat surrogates and celebrities.
  • Republicans have made over 2 million volunteer voter contacts in Wisconsin since the RNC’s AB/EV turnout program began nationwide.

He also writes:

With less than two weeks until Election Day, the unprecedented GOP ground game is producing dramatic results in absentee balloting and early voting (AB/EV) that will give us a critical edge. We will continue to build on this momentum in the next thirteen days, meaning it will be increasingly difficult for Democrats to cobble together the necessary votes.

In the battleground states with available data, Republican AB/EV activity is strong. In addition to raw Republican versus Democrat turnout numbers, there are two key metrics by which we can measure this.

First, we can calculate the party’s share of AB/EV activity as compared to the party’s share of voter registration. The data show the percentage of AB/EV activity from Republicans is greater than the percentage of registered voters which are Republican, indicating higher turnout rates among registered Republicans than among registered Democrats. For example, Republicans are outperforming our share of voter registration in absentee requests and early votes by 5.6 points in Florida, 8.73 points in Ohio, and nearly 12 points in Pennsylvania.

Second, we can measure the party’s share of AB/EV activity as compared to its share in 2008. In most cases, the data show Republicans making up a larger share of early voters this year than they did four years ago. Democrats make up a smaller share, giving Republicans an important advantage.Across the eight states, Democrats are underperforming their share of 2008 AB/EV votes cast by a net 5.85 percentage points, while Republicans are over-performing their share by 2.13 points, yielding a net swing of +7.98 percentage points for Republicans.

In states without party affiliation data, we can still gauge partisan turnout by the overall AB/EV activity rate in Democrat-leaning and Republican-leaning counties as compared to 2008. In many Democrat-heavy counties activity is down from 2008, while in critical Republican-heaving counties, AB/EV activity is up.

In yet another sign of Republican strength, Gov. Romney is winning the independent vote, both on the national level and in key battlegrounds. Both the latest Quinnipiac/CBS News poll and PPP poll in Ohio show Gov. Romney winning independents by 7 points. A recent LVRJ/SurveyUSA poll gave Gov. Romney an 18-point lead with independents in Nevada.

We’re not just over-performing with our base; unaffiliated voters are breaking for us too because they recognize that only Gov. Romney offers a real plan and a positive vision for the future.

While many of the Democrat ballots cast come from high propensity voters who would vote regardless, the Republican turnout operation has been focused on getting low propensity voters who would otherwise not vote to cast ballots early. As such, turnout for the Romney-Ryan ticket on Election Day will remain as strong as expected.

Past trends in Iowa, North Carolina, and Nevada show that Republicans turn out for early voting in greater numbers as we get closer to Election Day. We’ve seen that already in Iowa and Ohio, and we are seeing the same trend develop again this year in North Carolina and Nevada, meaning the Republican advantage will grow in coming days.

Moreover, our superior ground game and organization will continue to drive Republicans to vote early right up to Election Day–thanks to the tireless work of over 119,000 volunteers who have already made 28 million voter contacts since our AB/EV turnout program began and 44.8 million contacts total since the spring.

Tags: RNC , Swing States

RNC: $82 Million in the Bank for the Final Stretch



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If Republicans have a big year in 2012 — still a big if — a significant factor will be the fact that the Republican National Committee is exponentially more effective this cycle than in the past two cycles.

Today Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced the RNC raised $48.4 million in September and had $82.6 million cash on hand at the end of the month.

“The overwhelming support for the Romney-Ryan ticket has produced yet another impressive month for RNC fundraising,” said RNC Chairman Priebus. “We are proud to have raised over $48 million in September, with 97 percent of donations to the RNC coming in amounts of $200 or less.

“While we continue to put money into our ground game and fully fund our absentee ballot, early vote and Election Day GOTV efforts in all our battleground states, our historic cash on hand figure also allows us to continue funding our independent expenditure committee, run highly effective hybrid ads and assist in electing Republicans across the country at all levels.”

When I asked one of my RNC folk whether the aim was to spend just about all of the $82.6 million by Election Day, I was told, “We raise it, to spend it, to win.”

Hey, how are things going across town at Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s committee?

As of Sept. 30, the DNC reported having $4.6 million in the bank and $20.5 million in total debt – almost double the $11.8 million it owed at the end of August. The committee owes about $5.5 million of its total debt to creditors for services such as direct mail consulting, polling expenses and event consulting.

Attention, vendors: Stop falling for this, make Debbie pay you in cash.

Tags: DNC , RNC

Look Closely at the Cash-on-Hand Numbers . . .



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Two quick questions.

Doesn’t this . . .

President Barack Obama has more than $88 million available to spend for the presidential campaign’s final stretch, giving him a sizable cash-on-hand advantage over Mitt Romney. . . . Romney has $50.4 million available to him at this point in the campaign.

. . . seem less important when you know this?

The RNC, which has consistently been crushing the Democratic National Committee in fundraising, reported having $75.6 million at the end of August. The DNC ended the month with $7.1 million.

Romney cash on hand + RNC cash on hand = $126 million.

Obama cash on hand + DNC cash on hand = $95 million.

And while I’m sure the chairman and his gang would be the first to say we should hold the applause until after November, isn’t the performance of Reince Priebus and his team at the RNC pretty stunning, considering the state of the committee when former chairman Michael Steele left it in early 2011?

UPDATE: My math is based upon the media accounts cited above; the RNC has other, higher numbers they’re distributing this morning:

  • Cash On Hand: Romney/RNC $168.5 million vs. Obama/DNC: $125.1 million
  • RNC: $76.5 million vs. DNC: $7.1 million
  • 23 million voter contacts made by 65,000 volunteers
  • More than 1.9 million swing voters identified since the start of the Victory voter contact program
  • Surpassed the McCain ’08 campaign in total volunteer voter contacts

Tags: DNC , Reince Priebus , RNC

Priebus: No Schedule Changes Planned, but ‘We Have to Be Nimble’



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I just completed a quick interview with RNC chair Reince Priebus.

NRO: Isaac’s threat to Tampa appears to be passing, but there may be a serious threat to some other states. Do you have any worries or thoughts about changing the schedule if there’s a severe threat to New Orleans or to the Gulf Coast?

Priebus: Right now, I have not had a single discussion about doing anything other than going forward with the events and the schedule that we have planned. I will say, though, that we have to be nimble. And everyone can see that we can be nimble if we need to be. We have the ability to make alternative plans if we have to, but right now we feel that our message of the American dream and fixing this economy and putting ourselves on the right track for the future of this country — I think it’s a positive message and it’s a message that will always be good. When we’re optimistic about the future and how we’re going to fix this great country and put people back to work, it’s a message that works all the time.

Certainly, we have to be mindful of the effects of the hurricane and what that means to people who are pretty close by here.

NRO: This is traditionally one of the points of the year when the candidate really gets his chance to make his sales pitch to the American people. Any worries about a split screen on the cable news networks, or other big news events going on and getting in the way of the candidate getting to make his pitch to the people?

Priebus: It is what it is, right? So we have a hurricane, and we have three days to have this convention and nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. We understand completely — they’re all newsworthy events. Competition among events is not uncommon, and we think it’s important for people to stay informed about the storm as well.

It’s just a balance. I think tone is important, but when you see how we’re operating at the convention, you’ll see we have a very respectful tone. Obviously, the message is about how we can provide a better future for America, and that’s a tone that works with everything.

NRO: You said at a briefing a few moments ago that [former Gov. Mike] Huckabee will be speaking Wednesday night. Were there ever any discussions about removing him from the speaker’s list for the controversy and his defense of Akin?

Priebus: No. It’s one thing to have a dispute with Congressman Akin. That’s one thing. Akin’s the one who put himself in this place. That’s one level of argument. But then to say that because you think that we should just move on, as opposed to me thinking he should step down and let someone else carry the water, that’s sort of a couple steps removed from the issue. I think that’s a little bit different.

NRO: Had you read his e-mail defending Akin?

Priebus: Sure, I read it. He’s entitled. Having an opinion — Mike Huckabee’s not the one who said the biologically stupid things. So it’s different.

NRO: One of the discussions here at the convention is people wondering about the bump that Romney will get, and whether it will be up to the traditional levels.  Some folks are wondering if it’s possible to get the traditional bump, with such a polarized electorate and so few undecided voters left. Are you expecting a bump, and if so, how large?

Priebus: I think we’re going to have a base that is energized and motivated. I think the convention is going to be great in telling the Mitt Romney story. Getting Americans to understand more about Mitt as a person and what his plans are for this country can only help us.

As far as assessing the bump and what percent, you know, the media cycle is so different nowadays. We’re just so saturated these days, and because the media is constant nowadays . . . Conventions of the past had a four-day event that was the only huge political news for the summer. I think it’s a different time now . . .

I think we’re going to be motivated, I think it’s great for our base, it’s a great opportunity to tell people who Mitt Romney is, introduce him to people who don’t know him yet, and I’m optimistic that we’ll have a good result.

NRO: I realize the decision to hold the convention in Tampa was made by your predecessor, but first, is it possible this is the last convention on the coast in the Southeast for a while, and second — let me guess, your first choice for the 2016 convention would be Milwaukee, right?

Priebus: (laughing) Milwaukee sounds great! But I’ll say this, in a rare defense of Michael Steele — we’ve had conventions in New Orleans, Houston, Miami, now we’re in Tampa — actually, New York could have had a hurricane. You could just eliminate so many places. This is just such an odd situation. I don’t blame him. The fact of the matter is, we’re happy to be here, the people of Tampa have been so hospitable . . .

And quite frankly, we’ve got to win Florida. And there’s no better place for us to spend our time and our money and our energy than Florida. So I’m happy we’re here.

Tags: Reince Priebus , Republican National Convention , RNC

The Romney/RNC Ant and the Obama/DNC Grasshopper



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The Morning Jolt kicks off the week with a look at the lost art of persuasion, whether Tea Party activists are too busy working to hold protests anymore, an all-time classic correction from the White House pool reporters, and then this bit of news from the campaign finance front:

Obama Campaigns Like He Governs… Expensively.

The New York Times doesn’t mince words:

 President Obama has spent more campaign cash more quickly than any incumbent in recent history, betting that heavy early investments in personnel, field offices and a high-tech campaign infrastructure will propel him to victory in November.

Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have burned through millions of dollars to find and register voters. They have spent almost $50 million subsidizing Democratic state parties to hire workers, pay for cellphones and update voter lists. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on polling, online advertising and software development to turn Mr. Obama’s fallow volunteers corps into a grass-roots army.

The price tag: about $400 million from the beginning of last year to June 30 this year, according to a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission records, including $86 million on advertising.

But now Mr. Obama’s big-dollar bet is being tested. With less than a month to go before the national party conventions begin, the president’s once commanding cash advantage has evaporated, leaving Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee with about $25 million more cash on hand than the Democrats as of the beginning of July.

And you thought talk was cheap!

Rick Moran says we shouldn’t look at the early spending as good money lost:

That early spending will pay big dividends in the end. The network of state campaign offices and grass roots outreach by the campaign is unprecedented in American political history. The online efforts of the campaign include some very sophisticated data mining efforts, as well as creative use of social media.

Meanwhile, Romney is limited in what he can spend until after the election when he will become the official nominee of the party… Even though Romney will probably match the Obama campaign dollar for dollar in fundraising, and even surpass them with the help of conservative super pacs, Obama’s early spending has given him a decided advantage in the trenches where elections are often won or lost before the first ballot is even counted.

Still, with all of that early spending, Obama is up three in the RealClearPolitics average (which still includes that ridiculous D+19 Pew poll – take that one out and it’s a 2.1 percentage point margin) and they’re even in the Pollster.com average. Obama’s deluge has kept him narrowly ahead – but in the coming months, are Americans likely to be more pleased with what Obama has done as president or less pleased?

I hear it now: “Jim, Jim, it’s an Electoral College battle, not a national popular vote contest.” Yes, but you’re not going to see wild divergence between the national numbers and all of the swing states. As Larry Sabato observed, “Obama can’t be +6 in Florida and Ohio and be -1 nationally.”

Anyway, as of this morning, the Romney campaign and RNC combined have approximately $185.9 million in cash-on-hand.

Tags: Barack Obama , DNC , Mitt Romney , RNC

RNC: The Presidential Race is ‘Collectivism vs. Free Enterprise’



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It has now been twenty days since President Obama made his “you didn’t build that” remarks.

The RNC is continuing to pound on the theme, offering this contrast between the president and Mitt Romney on their social networks:

They summarize the race as “collectivism vs. free enterprise.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , RNC

RNC: These Aren’t Gaffes.



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The RNC offers a new video this morning, entitled, “These aren’t gaffes.”

If the statements from President Obama are indeed gaffes, what is particularly troubling for him is that he keeps accidentally misspeaking in a way that just happens to reinforce his foes’ criticism of him – that he is all talk and no action, that his desire to see his policies work causes him to underestimate how persistent and severe the unemployment rate is, that he sees the private sector as essentially subservient to the government’s will, and ultimately dependent upon government for its success…

In other words, it’s not a mere gaffe — “Is our children learning?” — but a Kinsley gaffe: “when a politician tells the truth–or more precisely, when he or she accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head.”

Tags: Barack Obama , RNC

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