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Debate Coaches, Media Training, Tech: How GOP Did It

Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, on the trail in Jonesboro, Ark., was a top Republican Senate recruit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen.-elect Tom Cotton, on the trail in Jonesboro, Ark., was a top Republican Senate recruit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The sweeping Republican victories were thanks to two years of internal speculation and trying to beat the Democrats “at their own game,” a new GOP memo argues.  

“This did not happen by accident,” read a joint memo from the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Democrats expected to win; they bragged that they would win. They would have won, had we not beat them at their own game.”  

In the two years following the 2012 election, Republicans began implementing a strategy based on the Growth and Opportunity Project , an evaluation of the party’s shortcomings. This included investment in technology to compile data using mobile apps and improve voter targeting on the ground to churn out voters they identified as “low propensity voters” who were upset with Democratic policies.  

The election was “a rejection of the policies and candidates supported by President Obama and Hillary Clinton,” the memo read, another indication the Republicans are moving on to a new enemy as they look at the 2016 presidential race.  

The memo noted the campaign committees placed a heavy emphasis on recruiting high-quality candidates, a strategy that included policy and media training, debate coaches and “Communication Boot Camps” to help get favorable press coverage.  

And don’t forget the money.  

“None of this would have been possible without record-breaking fundraising,” the memo read. “The RNC not only outpaced the DNC this cycle, but it also consistently beat its own records for online fundraising.”  

The memo boasted 35 million voter contacts, investing $105 million in “critical races,” 30,000 grassroots advocates, aggressive early voting efforts, and new mobile apps to help with the ground game.  

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