FreedomWorks, that’s who.
The conservative outside group FreedomWorks has drawn up plans to spend nearly $8 million mobilizing and expanding the GOP base in Texas, in a move to counter state and national Democratic efforts to make the state more electorally competitive, POLITICO has learned.
In a twelve-page internal strategy document obtained by POLITICO, FreedomWorks says that the Republican Party should be alarmed in particular by the Democratic group Battleground Texas, which several Obama campaign officials founded this year with the mission of organizing liberal-leaning constituencies that currently vote at below-average rates.
The FreedomWorks memo likens that offensive to the so-called “Colorado Model” – a successful initiative by Democratic donors and organizers to make Colorado a blue state over the past decade – and spells out an itemized budget for responding from the right.
“In 2012, Team Obama turned out their core supporters by registering new voters, offering transportation to the polls and emphasizing early votes. Battleground Texas is sure to employ similar tactics to take advantage of these untapped constituencies,” the memo says. “But FreedomWorks is ready to fight. We have a track record of engaging the grassroots through previous battles and victories, and have focused for years on rebuilding the Republican brand by holding legislators accountable for their votes.”
The ambitious FreedomWorks budget – which comes to just under $7,950,000 – calls for hiring 10 to 20 field directors ($240,000) and opening field offices in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas ($204,000).
It outlines extensive research and outreach efforts, including $1.8 million to be spent collecting issue surveys from Texans, $1.6 million for online media advertising, $1 million for paid neighborhood canvassing and hundreds of thousands of dollars for Facebook, Twitter and email outreach.
The budget also sets aside a quarter-million dollars for “scientific field experiments [which] will be used to show which grassroots activities provide the most bang for our buck.”
All told, it looks like a game plan designed to anticipate and mirror the activities of an Obama campaign-trained Democratic operation, with all the bells and whistles of the president’s famously sophisticated 2012 campaign.
Notably, the FreedomWorks strategy memo does not call for revising the Republican Party’s traditional issue positions. On the contrary, the group’s theory of the case insists that fidelity to small-government principles will attract Latinos and young voters, who are currently skeptical of the GOP in part because it has failed to outline a coherent agenda for economic growth.
Whatever. Look, no one ever believed that Battleground Texas would be uncontested in its efforts. I expect the Republicans to spend a bunch of money in Texas to hold onto what they’ve got – they’re already spending a bunch of money to do that, and there’s no reason to believe that will end anytime soon. I don’t know how many people they think they can find that already agree with them but don’t vote regularly, but I’m sure there are a few out there. It’s not my concern, and it’s not BGT’s concern. If they think that the polls are wrong about what Latinos and young voters want – there’s a lot of overlap between those two groups these days – or they think that the Latinos and young voters themselves are wrong about what they want, I say knock yourself out. We’ll see who’s right in the end, and with the events of this past Tuesday providing a strong wind at our backs, I like our chances better than I like theirs.