Republicans are playing catch-up.
While Democrats have utilized third-party surrogates for years to help promote their cause (Hi, George Soros!), the GOP is finally stepping up to the plate.
And they aren’t just up there to hit a single, they are aiming for the fences.
Thanks to Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, a network of five organizations are getting ready to add their voice to this year’s elections.
The Republican Party’s best-connected political operatives have quietly built a massive fundraising, organizing and advertising machine based on the model assembled by Democrats early in the decade, and with the same ambitious goal — to recapture Congress and the White House.
The new groups could give Republicans and their allies a powerful campaign apparatus separate from the Republican National Committee. Karl Rove, political architect of the Bush presidency, and Ed Gillespie, former Republican Party chairman, are the most prominent forces behind what is, in effect, a network of five overlapping groups, three of which were started in the past few months.
Ohio’s own Jo Ann Davidson is a part of the action…
American Crossroads — designed to counter spending by labor and progressive groups, including the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Unit and MoveOn.org — will focus on voter contact with the potential to move into ground game and turnout efforts. Organized under the tax code as a Section 527 organization, meaning it can spend directly on political activity, it’s set an ambitious budget of $52 million and says it’s already received commitments for $30 million of that. Its president and CEO is former top U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive Steven Law; its political director is veteran GOP operative Carl Forti. The chairman is Mike Duncan, former RNC chairman; the treasurer is Jo Ann Davidson, former RNC co-chairwoman; and the secretary is Jim Dyke, former RNC communications director.
All in all, the groups hope to raise upwards of $70 million for the 2010 cycle. Clearly, that will provide a significant boost to Republican chances.
These organizations are exactly what’s needed in the face of the turmoil over at the RNC. It’s providing big money donors a new avenue to unload cash into organizations they can trust to smartly spend in key races across the country.
Rove and Gillespie are in charge. Rest easy, GOP.