Less Than Six Months From Election Day, Republicans STILL Struggling With Ground Game

In response to new reporting on Donald Trump and the RNC continuing to have a nearly non-existent ground game, DNC Rapid Response Director Alex Floyd released the following statement: 

“Someone should tell Donald Trump and the RNC that there’s an election in less than six months. Trump is already running on an extreme and unpopular agenda, and his MAGA takeover of the Republican Party has left the GOP unable to build a ground game or infrastructure to reach voters before November, after purging staff and instituting an election denier litmus test for prospective hires. While Trump and his MAGA minions scramble to run a campaign, Democrats are firing on all cylinders to make Trump a two-time loser on November 5.”

NEW: Republicans’ field operation is STILL nearly non-existent – all because of Donald Trump. 

Washington Post: “Trump’s 2024 campaign has traded Star Wars metaphors for talk of a ‘leaner’ and ‘more efficient’ operation, with less real estate, fewer employees and greater dependence on outside groups.

“The situation has alarmed GOP officials in key states like Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, who have yet to receive promised funding, staff or even briefings on the new plans since the Trump team took control of the Republican National Committee in March. An earlier party blueprint for a general election build-out has been discarded, party officials say. Plans to open new offices have been scuttled. Hiring has been slowed.

“‘In order to win close elections in Georgia, you have to have a ground game that emphasizes turning out early votes and absentee votes,’ said Cody Hall, a senior adviser to Gov. Brian Kemp (R). ‘I have seen no evidence of them having any of that. The Trump campaign has a consultant in Georgia, but there is nothing else that I can see. … Everyone is generally concerned.’

“The RNC’s plan at the start of this year was also focused on early voting, the plans show, though the Bank Your Vote website — once the centerpiece of the effort — has been offline for weeks as the party retools the program.

“Arizona GOP chairwoman Gina Swoboda called RNC Chairman Michael Whatley on Monday to raise concerns that Arizona was not getting enough resources. … Others in the state remain concerned.

“‘There is no sign of life,’ said Kim Owens, a Republican operative and public relations professional in Arizona. ‘Especially in a state that Trump lost so closely last time, you’d expect to have more of a presence. I would think, ‘Let’s step it up.’ I think it’s a terrible mistake.’

“In Michigan, some of the state’s operatives and Republican lawmakers have grown concerned about a lack of an operation there.

“[Trump] has told people in charge of the RNC to focus on election security more than field programs… In private conversations with both Whatley and McDaniel, Trump told them to not worry about getting out the vote since he could do it himself. He told them to ‘focus on the cheating.’

“In the meantime, the complaints have continued. One person who works on battleground issues for the Trump campaign said there has been a lack of strategy articulated to workers in the field.

“Another key Republican familiar with the national GOP’s operation in Arizona bemoaned the lack of money, staffing and direction from Trump’s team in the sprawling battleground state. ‘They haven’t even sent a data person,’ the Republican said. ‘I said to someone yesterday, ‘No one’s coming — it’s just us.’”

Meanwhile, the Biden-Harris campaign and DNC are bolstering efforts to reach voters by scaling up its battleground infrastructure.

NBC News: “Cellphone data, mobile apps and paid media: DNC touts voter-targeting plans”

“The Democratic National Committee is making new tech investments to bolster its efforts to reach young voters and voters of color in an increasingly fragmented environment.

“Bolstered by the over $192 million they have amassed in the first quarter of this year, Democrats have doled out millions to acquire data and new technology to specifically target voters in battleground states and create a ‘data infrastructure’ that can equally be used by national and state parties. 

“The DNC says that so far, it has made 1.2 million calls and sent 5.4 million texts to engage voters and promote events, recruit for organizing activities and support voter registration efforts in battleground states.”

Washington Post: “The Biden operation says it has already opened more than 150 offices across nine state and hired over 400 people, many of whom gathered last week in Wilmington, Del., for a strategy session.”

The Hill: “The campaign plans to have more than 500 staff and 200 offices in the states open by the end of May. It also plans to ramp up surrogate travel and outreach to small businesses during the month.”

Axios: “Biden presses cash, staffing advantage against Trump”

Trump’s campaign and the RNC remain in financial and organizational disarray.

The Dispatch: “RNC-Trump Campaign Field Program Runs Aground”

“Neither the [RNC] nor the Trump campaign has much infrastructure or personnel in the swing states that will decide the November 5 election.

“That means few if any regional and local campaign headquarters; little to no deployed field staff; and little to no traditional voter turnout activities, such as door-knocking, phone banking, or volunteer organizing. Even after the Trump-led RNC’s reimagined field program eventually emerges, their strategy is to concentrate almost exclusively on the half-dozen states that will determine Trump’s fate. Republicans elsewhere? They’re on their own. 

“The field program is lagging, especially compared to the voter turnout operation stood up by President Joe Biden.

“We checked in with Republican operatives in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They see little evidence, if any, that typical get-out-the-vote activities—including voter registration and volunteer recruitment and training—are happening. Nor have they seen any signs that there is staff on the ground to conduct such activities. They say they do not expect the RNC to address the problem anytime soon.”

NBC News: “Biden is building a behemoth of a campaign. Trump at this point seems to be playing catch-up.”

“Trump’s advisers would not disclose staffing levels, but his ground game still seems to be at a nascent stage.”

Daily Beast: “While the new RNC leadership has centered its messaging on a combination of Trump-centric fundraising and budgetary cuts, the latest filings don’t yet reflect significant changes on either end. On the spending side, the latest filings show that the RNC’s operating budget actually increased by nearly $1.2 million over the previous month. … A closer look at the RNC’s own filings reveals some persistent hidden weaknesses.”

Financial Times: “Donald Trump falls $75mn behind Joe Biden in money race as donor base shrinks”

Associated Press: “Trump’s political operation is struggling to catch up to Biden on fundraising and organization.”

Fox News: “Democrats hold vast fundraising advantage as Republicans face cash problems, disarray in crucial swing states”

“According to year-end reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) holds nearly three times the cash on hand reported by the Republican National Committee (RNC), and brought in nearly three times as much fundraising in the final month of 2023.

“The RNC reported its worst fundraising year since 2013 raising just $87.2 million in 2023, and starting 2024 with just over $8 million in cash on hand. If adjusted for inflation, the RNC’s fundraising was last this low in 1993 — before the 2002 McCain Feingold Act restricted political committee fundraising from corporations and capped donations from individuals.”