Weatherford Opinion

Chairman tells of GOP’s efforts in Texas

“Our goal was not to beat the Democrats, our goal was to crush and absolutely destroy them...mission accomplished.”

Those were the remarks made by the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Steve Munisteri, as he addressed the Parker County Republican Women at a luncheon on Thursday.

Munisteri, who was elected chairman of the RPT in 2010, told a sizable crowd what it took for the Republican Party to get their message out to prospective voters and succeed in Texas during mid-term elections.

“We knew we were facing the largest challenge we’ve had in a long time,” Munisteri said. “It was purported that we would be facing the ‘A-team’ of the Obama campaign which included its National Field Director as consultant.”

He said the Democrats, in the end, will have spent between $40-$45 million during the campaign while “bragging” about their more than 300 paid personnel on staff.

“So we understood the challenges and the stakes weren’t just about 2014,” Munisteri said. “Success to the Democrats wasn’t necessarily about winning, success was about showing progress so their donors would invest more heavily in the future.”

He said if that were the case, the state’s 38 electoral votes would be up for grabs.

Munisteri said the RPT had not done wellover the last couple of election cycles. However, operations coalesced under one banner and in June 2013, when he announced a partnership with the RNC to establish Victory Centers to operate on a year-round basis. He said the party would hire significant number of new field staff assigned specifically to outreach to the Hispanic, African American and Asian American communities.

“The Democrats did it wrong; they outsourced their campaign to a third party group which was a mistake, especially where consultants are involved,” Munisteri added. “A lot of funds get siphoned off. Also, their interest isn’t in building the party brand - or the long term building of the party structure, it’s building their own structure.”

He said that the “seeds” of the RPT victory came in insisting that everything be brought back to the party where they were “confident” in what they were doing.

Munisteri said that their strategy was simple. They had no plans to contact anyone that had voted in the Republican or Democratic primaries, leaving them to focus on the swing voters.

“They are the voters in play,” Munisteri said. “We worked more than a year on reaching out to swing voters only.”

The result was the Republicans winning that block of voters overwhelmingly, especially when it came to the governor’s race.

“Our computer programs revealed that 14 percent of the voters were swing voters,” Munisteri said. “Out of that pie, only 2 percent went to Wendy Davis leaving us with the rest.”

He said their second strategy came when they appealed to their base, which they didn’t start until the week before early voting.

“The end result was that Republicans, for the second cycle in a row, had more people who turned out to vote Republicans than in previous cycles,” Munisteri said.

He said nationwide turnout was down from 40.5 percent to 36.5 percent and that in Texas turnout overall went down from 37 percent to 33 percent.

“That only tells half of the story,”Munisteri said. “It’s not Republican turnout that is down. Our turnout in Texas is up - in raw numbers - for two elections in a row, and for two elections in a row the Democrat turnout is the opposite.”

He said the RPT also rejected the idea that Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans and Asian-Americans could not be won by Republicans.

“Our premise is that if you have a good idea and good programs, they’re good for anybody,” he added.

It was through those strategies and insights that the RPT saw significant gains in all areas.

“We can’t stop,” Munisteri said. “We’re going to set the bar even higher.”

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