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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

I Guess the RNC Is Clueless

I wasn’t going to go there, but after this piece went up, I got an email from RNC Spokesman Doug Heye, who wrote:

We in fact did have a 72 hour program. Not sure why you would claim that we didn’t.

Well Doug, I go it from you. See this Roll Call article.

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.But this year the committee canceled the deployment program to cut costs ahead of the midterm elections.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.

It’s not really the 72-hour program when all the parts aren’t funded.In fact, there is near universal agreement that the most effective part of the 72-hour program was the boots on the ground aspect.

The cancellation of the deployment program comes as RNC Chairman Michael Steele has received criticism for low fundraising numbers and a cross-country bus tour that many campaign operatives have deemed unnecessary and ineffective.“We have the best electoral climate since ’94, and the RNC has no money for get out the vote? I hope Chairman Steele at least saved a few bucks to redecorate his office again,” one House GOP aide quipped.

As one Senate aide noted,

“We will lose races because of this,” said one senior Senate GOP aide, referring to the Republican National Committee’s inability to coordinate the traditional 72-hour GOTV effort for House and Senate races.

And we did. Doug and the RNC can say stuff like this:

Heye said the RNC will continue to run the 72-hour program, which includes voter registration call centers and 352 state-level Victory centers where volunteers can join the GOTV effort.

But the fact of the matter is that state parties, campaign organizations, and other national Republican entities had to pull a lot of extra weight because the key component of the 72 hour program was not funded and the RNC admits it. You can’t say you have the 72-hour program when the key part of it — national coordination of boots on the ground — is stripped from the program. And why was it stripped?

“With early and absentee voting becoming more prevalent — both in voters who use it and states that allow it — it was decided last year that a last-minute deployment was not cost-effective,” [Heye said.]

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