After Mitt Romney lost in 2012, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee promised he would build a permanent GOP ground game that would be ready in 2016 to compete against the Democrat party’s overwhelming get-out-the-vote machine.
Now, a party representative says the three-year effort is coming together and delivering concrete results for both the party and the party’s nominee for president Donald Trump, as the states ramp up their early voting and absentee ballot requests.
“Our ground game is working hand-in-glove with the Trump campaign,” the spokesman said. “The RNC continues to work hard for the nominee and the entire Republican Party ticket in order to get voters to the polls.”
The GOP field operation was completely rebuilt, starting in 2013, with party operatives sent to key battleground states and kept there for the long-term engaging, registering and turning out voters for the Republican Party, he said. The operatives also contributed to the party’s national database of voters.
“The fact that the GOP has been ‘permanently’ in the field for years, means that we have had a tremendous head start on the Clinton campaign and are still in the lead,” he said.
In Florida, the party suspended operations Wednesday, so that its people could focus on their own safety and the safety of their loved ones as Hurricane Matthew battered the state, the spokesman said.
But, before the stand down for Matthew, Republican operatives in the Sunshine State had submitted more than 335,000 more requests for absentee ballots than in the 2012 election cycle, which gives the GOP an advantage of 84,435 absentee ballot requests more than the requests handled by the Democrats, the spokesman said. In 2012, President Barack Obama won Florida by less than 75,000 votes.
From 2012, Republicans have added 262,000 more voters than Democrats in Florida, he said.
The representative said in Pennsylvania, GOP operatives have been catching up with Democrats.
In 11 of of the 14 days before the call, Republicans have requested more absentee ballots than Democrats, he said. “This turns the Democratic advantage to less than 1,000 in a state that has gone Blue for the last two decades.”
The spokesman said in the Keystone State, Republicans have out-registered Democrats in September, adding 30,000 new voters to the rolls that month. In the last four years, Republicans have added 223,552 voters in the state.
In September, Republicans out registered Democrats and New Mexico and Iowa, too, he said.
In Iowa, Democrats have been underperforming their 2012 results, he said. Wednesday alone, the GOP submitted absentee ballot 5,000 more requests than the Democrats in Iowa.
There are 39,000 more registered Republicans in Iowa than in 2012, he said.
Democratic absentee ballot requests in Iowa are off 51 percent from 2012, he said.
In Michigan, Republicans have a 59,000 request advantage for absentee ballots, he said.
The pace of requests in Michigan for the last 14 days was 1,642-per-day, the spokesman said. “This is a flip from the previous two weeks,when Democrats were leading.”
In the three days before the conference call, absentee ballot requests in North Carolina from Republicans have been 1,902 more than from Democrats, where the GOP is already in the lead, he said.
In the last week of September, GOP volunteers and operatives have knocked on more than one million doors., he said.
Before Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for president, RNC operatives and staff had logged more than 1.2 million hours of organizing, the spokesman said.