Vote, vote, vote! That was the message all through October as our Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) efforts moved into high gear. The RPT Victory team, led by Victory DirectorJohn Jackson, Political Director John McCord, and Data Director Ben McPhaul, under the auspices of RPT Executive Director, Beth Cubriel, ensured that our Victory centers around the state made millions of voter contacts to urge Republicans to get out and vote early. In addition, field teams in conjunction with the Abbott campaign and other statewide campaigns, continued walking door to door in neighborhoods throughout the state to get out the vote. This effort culminates a year and a half of work by our victory centers to contact swing voters, survey them on issues of importance, and then follow up to persuade them to vote Republican. The voters that we determined are likely to support the Republican ticket are now the focus of our GOTV efforts.
Starting the third weekend of October, our efforts shifted from voter identification surveying to pure GOTV contacts, and we can report that we have turned out a higher percentage of our base in early voting so far than the Democrats have of their base. Nevertheless, it is still vitally important that if you haven’t voted yet that you get out to vote on Tuesday. The Democrat’s only chance of being competitive in Texas is if we take the election for granted and do not have a strong turnout on Election Day. IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED EARLY PLEASE VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4. In addition, it is important to vote in order to support local candidates and to send a message that Texans still support conservative Republican government.
This was also my message as I travelled 3,500 miles in my car (plus additional miles in the air) around the state to speak at various local Republican clubs. During the first week of October, I hosted a fundraiser for Dr. VanDeWalle who is running for State House. The next day I drove to Houston where I met with RPT field staff. The following morning I drove to San Antonio to attend the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce breakfast along with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Chairman Preibus did an excellent job explaining the importance of the Hispanic community to the Republican Party and outlining the party’s national engagement efforts.
Following the breakfast, I attended an RNC fundraiser at which we received a briefing on races around the country. I then drove back to Austin to speak at the Texas Federation of Republican Women reception before attending their dinner that evening. From there it was back to Houston where I again visited one of the victory centers to thank the volunteers that came out to block walk that morning. The second week of October I was back in Austin where I attended the Travis County Reagan Gala. New Travis County GOP Chairman, James Dickey, did an excellent job putting together the event featuring Senator Ted Cruz former Senator Phil Gramm, along with Art Laffer, a former Reagan economic advisor.
The next day I headed back to Houston where I was the emcee of a Red State Women luncheon featuring Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, Chief Justice Kem Frost, Harris County DA Devon Anderson, and Lindsay Sander. Cari Christman and Carrie Simmons have done an excellent job putting together the new organization with the primary focus of messaging to women voters. Following the luncheon I had a quick turnaround back to Austin where I attended an event for Greg Abbott featuring former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina.
The next day was a long one as I drove to Frisco to speak to the Frisco Area Republican Women then immediately drove to Conroe to attend the 50th anniversary of Wally Wilkerson’s Chairmanship of the Montgomery County Republican Party. Click here to read more about the event. From there it was back to Houston where I again checked on our Victory staff before driving to Bastrop that evening to speak at the Bastrop GOP annual dinner.
I started off the third week of the month in Austin but quickly had to head back to Houston for a fundraiser at the home of John Nau. Victory Chairman, Christi Craddick, welcomed General Abbott who was the featured speaker, along with Dan Patrick, our nominee for Lt. Governor, Senator Glenn Hegar, our nominee for Comptroller, Sid Miller, our nominee for Agriculture Commissioner, and Ryan Sitton, our nominee for Railroad Commissioner. From there it was back to Austin for just a day to check in on the preparations for early voting before driving to Kaufman to speak to the local Republican club at the invitation of former SREC member, John Cook. From Kaufman I headed back to Austin for a day before I went back to Houston for the weekend.
At the start of the 4th week of October, we had a Grassroots Club tele-town hall that provided GRC members with a unique experience to call in and talk to Wayne Hamilton, Campaign Manager for Greg Abbott. If you haven’t done so already, click here to join the GRC today so you do not miss out on these exclusive opportunities in the future. The following day I drove to Pearland to speak at the monthly GOP meeting. I returned to Austin that night so I could drive to San Antonio to help campaign with General Abbott and special guest Chuck Norris. I was very encouraged by such a large and enthusiastic turnout mid-day.
From San Antonio we flew to Corpus Christi where we were greeted by hundreds of supporters at Snoopy’s Pier, including the Nueces County Chairman Mike Bergsma and Congressman Blake Farenthold. I would also like to give a special thank you to SREC member, Samuel Dalton, for offering to drive me around while I was in town. On an interesting note, only around 10 Wendy supporters showed up in protest of General Abbott which was quite a contrast to the number of Abbott supporters, outnumbering the Wendy supporters by nearly 30 times. General Abbott was on fire, no doubt buoyed by the energy of the crowd. If that same enthusiasm holds around the state, we should have a very good election.
From there I attended a reception for General Abbott held in town before flying back to Austin. The following day it was on to Midland for another Victory fundraiser hosted by Commissioner Craddick, as well as a town hall with Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Carly Fiorina. Click here for a recap of the event. The fundraiser, organized by RPT Finance Director Christin Evans, along with Victory fundraising staff, was successful in raising additional funds for our Victory effort and the panel discussion was very unique as it allowed each participant the opportunity to discuss in depth a wide variety of policy issues. From there it was back to Austin where I spent the last week of the month primarily in meetings to make sure our election efforts were going well. In addition, I had numerous press interviews regarding the election where I discussed our GOVT and field efforts.
On the financial front, we ended the month paying all bills to $0 as usual. We were able to send much needed funds to a number of State Representative, Congressional, and State Senate candidates who are in competitive races. Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on turnout, assisting our candidates, and operating our Victory centers, we still have over $1 million total cash on hand. However, because of federal campaign finance laws, much of this money is restricted to party operations and not political activity.
We have spent the better part of the last 2 years preparing for the moment at hand. Since June 2013, when we initiated our Victory operation, we have opened 9 offices all around the state, and we began the tedious work of voter identification, surveying, etc., all in preparation for our turnout effort which we will need on Tuesday. At the end of the day, the success of the Party will be determined by the success of its nominees on the day of election. That day is only 3 days away.
This election cycle, the Democrats have reportedly spent in excess of $35 million trying to win a statewide race and to increase their numbers in the legislature and on the local level. They have made no secret of their intentions to use their hope for gains in 2014 to set the stage for Texas to support their nominee in 2016, presumably Hillary Clinton. The moment is upon us when we can all shout in unison that Texas will remain red and demonstrate a mandate for conservative Republican government. The only way for this to happen is if every Republican gets out and votes. Your vote is your voice–let it be heard, and together, the Republican Party of Texas will let out a big roar on Tuesday.
Stephen Munisteri, Chairman