As the nation’s chief Republican organization, the mission of the Republican National Committee (RNC) is to raise money for candidates and committees, disseminate the party’s message to a broad swath of constituents and to mobilize as many voters as possible to the ballot box.
Given the heightened importance of 2010, with the short-term opportunity to shift the balance of power in Congress for the next two years and the even longer-lasting opportunity to shape the redistricting efforts in 2011 by increasing GOP control at the state level, it was extremely disheartening to read a recent New York magazine article entitled “Taking Politics Private.”
In this piece, longtime GOP stalwart Ben Ginsberg posits that the GOP could fall short in 2010 because the RNC is not “developing an [adequate] ground game,” “pumping [enough] money into the congressional campaign committees to put more seats in play,” and dedicating the right amount of resources to redistricting.
With 37 governor’s races on the docket, the battle for redistricting is going to fall squarely on the shoulders of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), and a select group of 527s and financiers.
If the RNC were to dedicate a sizeable portion of its resources to developing a strong ground game and work to put more congressional seats in play, these actions would positively bolster GOP redistricting efforts.
Here is why.
Most state and local GOP committees do not have the resources to conduct a successful field operation, and, due to the efforts of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) and Organizing For America (OFA), the left is better positioned in down-ballot races. Over the last several election cycles, the left has essentially executed a “perpetual campaign” – their efforts to organize never ceased following President Obama’s 2008 victory and the Democrats’ takeover of Congress. For these reasons, it is necessary for the RNC to take the lead and coordinate field operations in contested districts. If the RNC chooses to shy away from this responsibility, several state and local GOP candidates will be adversely affected, thereby hampering Republican redistricting efforts.
On the congressional front, pollster Stuart Rothenberg recently stated that 68 Democrat-held House seats are in play this fall. While this is great news, herein lies the problem. At present, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) doesn’t have the money on-hand to combat the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). In fact, the DCCC, at the end of March, had $16 million more in its coffers than its Republican counterpart. If the RNC does not pursue a more active role in assisting Republican House candidates this year, the GOP will not take full advantage of the current political landscape. By inserting itself into the sweepstakes for the battle of Congress in 2010, the RNC can work to stretch the resources on the left. If successful, the RNC’s actions will have a trickle down effect that will improve the chances of GOP state and local candidates at the ballot box.
Ford O’Connell and Steve Pearson are the co-founders of ProjectVirginia – “Where Politics Meets Social Media.”