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OPINION

The RNC's Infrastructure Is Built to Get Out the Vote

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AP Photo/Alex Sanz

We've all seen the phony headlines. The mainstream media is pushing a narrative that Republicans lost the midterms because we failed to embrace early voting and absentee ballots. Let's use data to debunk that lazy narrative: Republicans flipped the House, and the RNC's ground game is built to turn out voters at every stage of the process.

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The RNC built the largest political ground game in our party’s history during this last midterm cycle. From activating a million volunteers who made over 100 million voter contacts to opening dozens of brick-and-mortar offices from coast to coast, we built the infrastructure we needed to flip the House. Our strategy also extended to driving up turnout among Republicans who vote early or by absentee ballot. We have more work to do to dominate this key arena in future cycles, but two states – North Carolina and California – show how the RNC strategically targeted voters to secure Republican gains needed to fire Nancy Pelosi.

The RNC had a strong ground game in North Carolina, where we have worked closely with the North Carolina Republican Party to strengthen Republican gains and outwork Democrats over consecutive cycles. In 2022, Republican turnout was seven points higher than Democrats, in large part because we increased the number of Republican voters who voted early or by absentee ballot to the tune of nearly 60,000 more voters than the previous midterm in 2018. The result? Senator-elect Ted Budd is headed to Washington, D.C. to represent the Tar Heel State.

Republicans made strategic investments in North Carolina to help power this rightward shift. For example, in Robeson County – a key swing area home to the Lumbee tribe – the RNC opened its first ever Native American Community Center to engage with local voters who Democrats had long taken for granted. Over the past several years, Republicans have increased our vote share among Native Americans in Robeson County by 9% while Democrats have lost 16% over the same time period. This is a perfect example of how a targeted, strategic investment in one specific area can help shift a state. By winning over new voters to the Republican coalition in one key county, we can help change the course of a swing state over a number of electoral cycles – all while ensuring that our Republican message of freedom, prosperity, and security reaches new groups of Americans.

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The RNC’s strategic investments also paid off by helping secure gains in deep-blue states like California. Two weeks ahead of Election Day in November, our data team – working closely with the California GOP and Congressman-elect John Duarte’s campaign – identified 18,000 strong Republican voters who hadn’t voted yet despite a wide window of early voting. We shifted our strategy to repeatedly contact those voters as Election Day approached to make sure we took full advantage of California’s early voting rules. Finally, we worked closely with the California GOP to ballot harvest and ensure that Republican votes made it to the ballot box in time to be counted. The result? California Republicans grew their total number of pre-election day voters by 34% compared to 2018 and Congressman-elect Duarte won by just 564 votes. For context, Biden won this district by 11% in 2020.

These examples in California and North Carolina mirror a broader trend of the RNC’s strategy. We made over 100 million voter contacts in 2022, shattering every previous Republican midterm record. Crucially, 50% of those contacts – volunteer calls and door knocks – came in the last two months of the election. By targeting specific voters when early voting starts, we can take advantage of rules in each state and drive-up Republican turnout. This is the strategy that led us to flip the House back to Republican control. This is how we fired Nancy Pelosi.

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There’s no question that there is still a tremendous amount of work to do. While our legal efforts have never been stronger – we filed over 80 election integrity lawsuits last cycle to complement our 80,000 trained poll watchers and poll workers – we also know that when we can’t change state laws, we have to take advantage of them. As the RNC continues to evolve, adapt, and take lessons from this last midterm cycle, our efforts to chase down ballots and seize on early voting will be our number one priority. 

The RNC does not choose candidates or run campaigns. We build infrastructure, which includes cutting edge-data, strategic offices, and targeted voter contacts. To use a sports analogy, we build and operate the stadium where candidates compete; we try to help fund the players and lay a winning groundwork. As we look ahead to making Joe Biden a one-term President, we will continue to work overtime to improve where necessary to elect Republicans up and down the ballot.

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