When I walked downstairs this morning for day two of the Smart Girl Summit the talk in the hallways centered around the news that the RNC cut funding from its GOTV campaign, particularly the deployment program, to curb costs. “Deployment” is when Capitol Hill sends out staffers to various districts to help the push leading up to the election. Many wondered why the RNC would do this when in the most important election cycle – odd even, for a non-presidential election – of our generation.
“The Republican National Committee has decided against sending Congressional staffers out on the campaign trail for traditional get-out-the-vote efforts, focusing its resources instead on mailings and other last-minute pre-election efforts, the committee confirmed Tuesday,” Roll Call reports. “The RNC traditionally runs the GOTV operation for Capitol Hill, which includes recruiting and registering staff that want to help the GOP at the state level… Doug Heye, a spokesman for the RNC, said the money would instead be used to fund other parts of its ’72-hour program,’ such as paid mail. Heye said the RNC made the decision after a review of deployments during the 2009 elections in New Jersey and Virginia.
A scan of the web pulled up few articles.
I wrote on Twitter:
Shortly thereafter I got an email from RNC spokesman Doug Heye about the matter asking me to call him.
Heye explained that the RNC decided to trim GOTV and cut deployment because it “was a boondoggle. It was outrageously expensive. The average person deployed wasn’t knocking on doors, making calls all day.”
In light of the recent criticisms against the RNC, with the Hawaii conference, Steele’s cross-country tour, I can see why the RNC would want to rectify an ineffective and expensive program to ward off further accusations of wasteful spending – so long as the money saved stays with their GOTV efforts, which Heye explained that it would.
Heye discussed the RNC’s other GOTV efforts.
“We have 352 victory offices funded by us throughout country. We’ve crossed the 20 million contact threshold – contact in messages left, door knocks, phone calls. We’re ahead of where we were in 2008 and in the next five weeks we’ll have a minimum of two million more contacts.”
One of the concerns discussed in recent weeks by conservatives has included the push for early and absentee voters. Ohio has already started voting; Heye estimated that 40% of voters will have voted before election day. “It’s why people are going negative earlier.”
Heye also noted that “indexed for inflation, we will outraise 1994” and that the RNC is in the same position that the DNC was in back in 1996 with “no White House, no chamber of congress.” The RNC has raised $165 million, Heye disclosed. He admitted that it both hurt and helped that so many other groups and campaigns are taking donations and raising money in new ways with the explosion of conservative netroots and grassroots.