Republican officials were positive Monday that their big ground-game investments heading into the 2018 midterms will translate to increased voter turnout and many unexpected victories on November 6.
Republican National Committee (RNC) strategists have invested more than $250 million in its political infrastructure to get people to the polls. But the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hasn’t matched those investments because its donors are far behind those of the RNC.
“Democrats simply don’t have the political infrastructure that we do to get people to the polls,” RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement to LifeZette. “[Congressional special election] candidates like Jon Ossoff [Georgia] and Danny O’Connor [Ohio] lost despite having a ton of money and the backing of the entire Democratic machine. We’ve made serious investments in our data and field programs, and it’s a big fundamental advantage that’s often overlooked.”
The RNC isn’t just interested in raising more money than its opponents but rather ensure those investments bring people to the polls. During elections, outreach and field operations are critical in getting supporters and potential supporters to vote.
Former President Barack Obama won two presidential elections in large part to the coalition he built around his agenda and personality, plus heavy investments in election technology.
The RNC took some inspiration from his approach during the current midterm elections, which means a focus on recruiting and training volunteers to organize in their own communities.
The RNC has raised a total of $270 million during the current fundraising cycle so far compared to the DNC, which collected $136 million, according to the Federal Election Commission. The difference became much more pronounced last month when Republicans drew in $26.2 million against $9.7 million.
“They are here in a way that they have not been here before. They are organized better than they have been before — even in Clark County, the Democratic stronghold,” Jon Ralston, a political analyst and editor of the Nevada Independent, told The Washington Post. “But the RNC has been organized. They didn’t do it two months ago, as they’ve tried in the past. They’ve been here for a while.”
Democrats have been able to outraise Republicans elsewhere, making how the money is spent that much more important. Democratic House candidates, for example, raised double what their Republican rivals have in the third quarter between July and September.
Democrats still appear to have a chance of regaining the House, thanks to such fundraising successes giving them a boost. FiveThirtyEight, an opinion poll analysis site, now gives the Democrats an 83.7 percent chance of winning back the House of Representatives.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation after a long, bitter process has given Republicans their own boost. Rasmussen Reports found in a recent survey that 62 percent of Republicans are more likely to vote because of how Kavanaugh was treated during the ordeal. This compared to 54 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of voters not affiliated with a major party.
Republicans are also on pace to break a fundraising record of their own for a single election cycle, having raised $597 million through the first three quarters. The previous GOP record at this point in the election cycle was $554 million in 2012. House candidates in total have raised nearly $1.5 billion compared to $919 million at this point in 2016.