GOP’s Investment in Ground Game a Page from Democrats’ Playbook

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Ken Buck and Jane Norton campaign prior to the Republican primary in Colorado in 2010. (credit: CBS)

Ken Buck and Jane Norton campaign prior to the Republican primary in Colorado in 2010. (credit: CBS)

Dominic Dezzutti By Dominic Dezzutti
CBSDenver.com Blogger
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You can call the Republican Party a lot of things, both positive and negative. But a word you must now add to the list is “good readers”.

With the announcement from the Republican National Committee this week that 14 staffers have been hired in Colorado and a dozen offices will be opened across the Centennial State, it is clear that the GOP has been reading the playbook that the Democrats have used to pummel Republicans for the last decade.

While Democrats have run many strong candidates, other marginal candidates have been elected through the use of an extremely effective ground game.

Elections are won with a good combination of quality candidates, strong funding, sound campaign strategy and an effective ground game. Missing one of those can be overcome, but not often.

Republicans have been beaten on many of those points in statewide races in Colorado recently, but the margin has been the widest when it comes to the ground game.

What is a “ground game” for a political party, you ask?

A ground game consists of the volunteers and staffers that work for the party door to door and within the community. A good ground game will help to get out the vote and make personal connections with voters, especially the voters that may be hard to reach through conventional methods.

A good ground game is also the most reliable source of important intelligence that can improve campaign strategy. If a good set of volunteers canvas a neighborhood effectively, they can report what issues independent voters are responding to and what issues are turning them off. That information can be transformed into mailings and targeted advertising that can turn the tide in a tight race and turn a tight race into a landslide.

The concept is not rocket science, but high tech certainly plays a role. Volunteers armed with tablets can use the most up to date voter rolls and send in information as quickly as they can collect it.

Opening a dozen offices and hiring 14 additional staffers doesn’t necessarily mean that the GOP will suddenly adopt a ground game strategy that pushes the technological envelope. But what it does mean is that the Republican Party is getting serious about winning in Colorado and is more than happy to use a Democratic strategy to pull it off.

There is just less than eight months until Election Day and a lot of things can happen between now and then. But we know one thing for sure, the Republican Party wants to win and they are willing to read just about any book to make it happen, even ones written by Democrats.

Dominic Dezzutti’s Latest Blog Entries

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.

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