Tomorrow in key battleground states, the RNC has organized a "volunteer day" or Walk Day. This is the first major Get Out The Vote effort of the general election for Republicans. I had a few moments to talk with RNC Political Director Rick Wiley and spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski from the RNC today about what the event is all about, and what they hope to accomplish. First, here's the official blurb:
RNC National Walk Day. Tomorrow the RNC will hold a national walk day to engage our grassroots activist across the country in battleground states to knock on doors of independent voters and add to our Get Out the Vote efforts to defeat Barack Obama. The states participating include: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The primary goal is to get as many people "to the doors" as possible, rather than just over the phone, says Wiley. Volunteers and campaign workers are going to pound pavement, going door to door on foot in order to both identify republican leaning voters that may not yet have been reached, and to get those voters interested, involved, and eventually, in the voting booth. Wiley referred repeatedly to adding voters to various "universes", the early voting universe, the absentee universe, etc. So the idea here is that the walk tomorrow gives the various local offices the ability to sort of guide potential voters through the entire process. And that's not all that the GOP is up to.
The RNC is referring to the various local locations as "Victory Offices". It is the victory offices that will be the hubs for the National Walk tomorrow. But even with the emphasis on knocking on doors and interacting directly with voters, there is a major online component as well.
Via Facebook, the party has a new, high-tech app for encouraging volunteerism. The Social Victory app is a multi-faceted tool that gives users the ability to, for example, see local events like the National Walk day; Opportunities to volunteer, in other words. Here's a screenshot (click to enlarge):
You can also, per usual for apps like this, forward info, "like" things (natch), and even set up virtual phone banks to call on behalf of the campaigns.
When you put together shoes on pavement, and clicks on apps, I'm staring to have a good deal more confidence in the party's ability to capitalize not only on volunteers, but on the web, in a competitive way that we just didn't see in 2008. That year, Barack Obama's machine online was the stuff of legend. I don't know if the GOP is going to be legen .. wait for it .. dary this time around. But the fact is the Victory Center app is actually pretty awesome, and with an effective voter ID and GOTV effort, I don't see them being eclipsed by the Obama machine this year.
I'll try to get an update for you on Monday on how it all worked out. So far, looks pretty promising to me.
Oh, I did ask one more thing. I asked if they would say they were "super duper" excited about the RedState Gathering in Jacksonville, Florida, August 2 - 5, or if they were just "very very" excited. The answer? "The former!" Good answer!