There is a new energy and enthusiasm in the Broward Republican Party, and together, we will earn our way to victory in 2012! We can't take our 2010 victories for granted...we have to continue to work hard today to prepare for 2012. Make no mistake - victory is not assured...it must be earned.
When I ran to become your Chairman at the end of last year, my campaign was based on an Eight-point platform. As I stated in my first Chairman's remarks at the January 2011 meeting, I intend to keep my campaign promises. Together with the new board, I am achieving the goals outlined in the platform and constantly striving to make our party stronger. There is simply too much at stake as we head into 2012. In this article, I will identify what I and the Executive Board have already done over the last four months to earn our victories for our candidates in 2012. The facts bear out that our party is on the right track for success.
Fundraising. We have done an amazing job fundraising for the party. I promised regular Lincoln Day fundraisers for Broward, and 90 days after becoming your Chairman, we netted approximately $90,000 at our 2011 Lincoln Day Fundraiser featuring Governor Rick Scott, Congressman Allen West, and our very own RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day. This was the most successful Lincoln Day since 2007. We outraised the Democrats in a county where we are outnumbered more than 2 to 1, and had about 450 people in attendance. We couldn't have done this without a party that was energized and united.
When I came into office, we had about $5,000 in the treasury. Much like a small business, we had to take risks. We hired an executive director to hold regular office hours at our headquarters. I remember telling our Executive Director Rico Petrocelli that it might be one of the shortest jobs he's ever had. But with a lot of sweat equity, prayers, and luck, we have succeeded and will continue to succeed.
I have said that we need active fundraising throughout the year. In keeping with this promise, we have already scheduled our Grand Old Party BBQ for this June. It will be a less expensive fundraiser and will be in the western part of the county. Stay tuned for more details to come on this and many more exciting events in the near future.
Unity & Growing Our Membership. The Broward Republican Executive Committee is one of the largest RECs in the state, and our December election meeting had the largest total number of voters of any of the 67 RECs.
Anyone attending our meetings has also noticed our increased turnouts...over 250 at every meeting since January. There is no surer sign of unity than the increased turnouts at our REC meetings. We have mailed out postcards with our meeting dates to all members, created a new website, done robocalls to remind people about our meetings, and made sure to contact any guests to invite them back again and get them involved. We will continue to grow our party and try to get active committeemembers in all the precincts across Broward.
Another campaign promise kept was to allow our committeemembers to make motions and comments at our meetings. For the first time in years, Committees have been organized to provide our talented members withoutlets to help the party succeed. Additionally, we are starting new clubs such as the Central Broward Republican Club and revitalizing existing clubs. We are all part of what I like to call TEAM BROWARD. Together, we can make it happen.
Technology. As I mentioned earlier, one of my first initiatives was to launch a new and revamped website at www.browardgop.org. In addition to this, we started recording our REC meetings in high definition and posting them on our very own You Tube Channel, which has gotten over 46,900 views!
We've robocalled our members, and are using many novel techniques to attract people to club meetings. Together with Sheela Venero, our Secretary, we started what we believe may be the only official REC blog, the Broward GOP Insider (www.browardgopinsider.com), which has been nominated for a Best of Blog Award by the Sun Sentinel (UPDATE: The Broward GOP Insider has won the best political blog at the 2011 Best of Blogs Awards on 4/13/2011).
The Broward Party has a Facebook and Twitter presence, and I have personally provided regular updates and Broward GOP newswires via email using Constant Contact. We are getting our message out like never before.
Supporting Local Candidates. I often spoke about how important it was to help our local candidates when I ran to be your Chairman. I am happy to report that the Party has been very active in helping our local candidates. We organized phone banks, notified our members of walks and provided statistics and advice to all those who asked. The money we raised from Lincoln Day allowed the Party to financially contribute to their campaigns. I also personally supported these candidates. Whether they win or lose, the Broward Republican Party will be there to help local candidates. We are also actively looking for candidates to field against the Democrats in the 2012 elections.
Getting our Message Out. Beyond our efforts with the new website, blog, and social media, we are also getting our message out on the radio. I've appeared multiple times on the Bill Lewis radio show (at 9AM on AM 1470) which features many of our local and statewide politicians. For years now, the Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Mitch Caesar has had an unchallenged spot on 610 WIOD on the Jimmy Cefalo radio show at 7:40 AM on Tuesdays. Well, because of my efforts, I was given a chance to go head to head with Mitch Caesar for a three week time period as a test run. Because of the success of the segment, I am now a regular every Tuesday morning to offer our conservative message on national and local issues.
Preparing to Get Out the Vote in 2012. We need to prepare now to lay the groundwork for getting out the vote in 2012. I am honored to have been appointed on February 17th by RPOF Chairman David Bitner to the Elections and GOTV Committee of the RPOF. This committee is charged with developing ways in which the RPOF can maintain an effective volunteer force during off and election years. This includes recruiting volunteers and implementing effective 72 hour efforts on a local level. Chairman Bitner knows how important the almost 250,000 Registered Republicans are in Broward County to the statewide turnout - and he knows how important all of you, our grassroots leaders are, to this effort. I consider this appointment to be one for all of us - It's the job of all the committeemembers in Broward to turn out that vote. That's what TEAM BROWARD is here to do.
In conjunction with this, we are sending precinct lists pulled directly from the Broward Supervisor of Elections to all of our executive committee members once we get their updated email information. This will allow everyone to contact the Republicans in their precincts and get updated info back to the party. Each list is itemized to show whether a voter cast a ballot early, absentee or on election day.
When calling an absentee voter, it is imperative that we tell them that they need to reapply to receive their 2012 ballots in the mail. Please have them call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 954-357-7055 to request their ballots through the 2012 elections. An online request, which is only good for one year, can be made here: http://www.browardsoe.org/AbsenteeRequest2.aspx.
Now Is the Time. Now is the time to get active, my fellow Republicans. Now is the time to support Governor Rick Scott. He promised voters he would reduce Government spending, cut unnecessary expenses and never approve any tax payer funded project that would not provide the people of Florida a return on their investment. Since taking office, he has done just that.
Now is the time, my fellow Republicans, to take the fight to the Democrats. If we turn out the vote in Broward, it will make it statistically impossible for the Democrats to succeed statewide. Together, we can do it. We will raise money. We will gather volunteers. We will support our candidates. We will take our message to ALL Broward voters. ... and we will have a good time doing it!
Now is the time to prepare for 2012, when we will take on the Democratic machine in Broward...when we will defend our Republican officeholders like Congressman West & Sheriff Lamberti ... and when we will defeat Senator Nelson and President Obama.
Our battle cry will be simple. You may have heard it once or twice before, but it bears repeating: LET'S GET TO WORK!
Thank You, God Bless You, and God Bless America.
All the best,
Richard DeNapoli, Chairman
Republican Party of Broward County