Outclassed by Dems in 2008, GOP goes door-to-door in battleground blitz

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In Iowa, a swing state that went for Mr. Obama four years ago, state party officials say RNC volunteers have knocked on 14 times as many doors as four years ago to chat with voters or to leave literature on doorknobs.

The Republican effort is even more impressive in another battleground state, North Carolina, where party officials boast that volunteers have knocked on 121 times more doors and made seven times as many personal phone calls to potential Romney-Ryan voters than was the case in 2008 for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes, a textile mill owner, said he “had a business plan so that when the primaries were over, we were ready to send money to our victory committee.”

In Colorado, where the Romney campaign is beginning to move in major resources, state party officials claim three times the number of door knocks and twice the number of personal phone calls compared with all of 2008.

“We have a better emphasis on [get-out-the-vote and victory] programs than Bush had in 2000 and 2004 and than McCain in 2008,” said Ryan Call, the Colorado Republican Party chairman. “The focus is on sending people door to door as opposed to making phone calls.”

Mr. Call said that “even on phone calls, we put more emphasis than in previous years on actually talking with voters and doing it in a personal way.”

Early voting

Republicans also boast of putting far greater effort into getting their voters to cast ballots early, when the Obama forces dominated in the race to pile up early ballots and get absentee ballots to supporters who could not get to the polls on Election Day.

In Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada, Republicans say, their registered voters have requested more absentee ballots than Democrats.

In 2008, Mr. Obama won at least four swing states by piling up large majorities in the contest for absentee ballots. This time, Republicans say, they have the more muscular early balloting operation going. Republicans requested 656,813 absentee ballots in Colorado, compared with Democrats’ 627,064, according to records from the secretary of state, the memo said.

In North Carolina, more than 52 percent of all ballot requests have come from Republicans, 27 percent from Democrats and 21 percent from independents.

In Florida, Republicans say they have accounted for 43.4 percent of absentee ballot requests, while 39 percent were from Democrats. In returned absentee ballots, Republicans outnumber Democrats 45.5 percent to 38 percent.

By law, only the RNC’s victory centers may spend donors’ money to get out the vote. But when it comes to planning, managing professional staff and dispatching volunteers, the Romney campaign, the RNC and the GOP state chairmen say they have merged their efforts into what they claim is a harmonious whole.

On a recent Saturday alone, more than 30,000 RNC volunteers made 2.5 million voter contacts, an internal RNC memo claimed.

“Since the spring, nearly 98,000 individuals have volunteered their time to make phone calls or knock on doors. In total, they have made more than 35 million voter contacts, including 6.5 million door knocks,” the memo said.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Ralph Z. Hallow

Ralph Z. Hallow

Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.

 

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