In beating Alvin Brown in the Jacksonville mayor’s race on Tuesday, Lenny Curry may have shocked the world. But the former Republican Party of Florida chair did not shock the RPOF. according to a memo sent out Wednesday by Florida GOP Executive Director Brad Herold.
He described Curry’s victory as “a result of the right leader supported by a carefully, planned-out ground game.”
Curry’s victory “creates a serious problem for Democrats” just in time for the 2016 election, the memo asserts.
Instrumental in Curry’s victory was a determined joint effort by the RPOF and the Republican National Committee, which poured resources into the Curry effort. The “calculated, dedicated” ground game was characterized to me as a “proxy” battle in the 2016 race by Party Chair Blaise Ingoglia, and the memo gives evidence of how methodical that ground game really was.
The effort started well ahead of the January primary.
For example, since late January RPOF/RNC-funded field staff were engaged in GOTV and targeted voter contact efforts. RPOF allocated 12 field and support staffers to drive GOTV efforts, and the numbers were impressive.
Ninety-one thousand targeted voter contact doors and over 120,000 voter contact calls were made. Volunteers were recruited from around the state during the final two weeks before the primary. Additionally, over 30 paid knockers and field staffers were brought in.
The efforts intensified during “the final 4 week general election voter contact push,” in which “the combined Curry/RPOF team knocked over 129,000 targeted doors and made over 135,000 voter contact calls (primarily AB Chase, EV Push and ID calls).” As well, the RPOF ran a volunteer phone bank out of Tallahassee, targeting absentee ballots.
You will notice the heavy focus on the absentee ballots. Despite an aggressive Souls to the Polls push on behalf of Alvin Brown, the RPOF and the Curry campaign countered their effort with the absentee ballot push. Even before the votes were counted on Election Day, Curry had a 682 vote advantage.
As well, “RNC Data/Digital worked with RPOF and Curry team to develop new voter scores and target universes for voter contact, maximizing our ground game’s focus and effectiveness.”
The RPOF was not as out front in this campaign as their Democratic counterparts were, partially by design; during the interregnum between the communications stints of Fabien Levy and Yianni Varonis, Joshua Karp came to Jacksonville to handle the communications end for the Brown campaign. Yet clearly, behind the scenes, they were getting the job done.
Undoubtedly, the Florida Democrats are taking note of how they were beaten and recalibrating their strategies, with the 2016 donnybrook looming before both parties.