The Republican delegates leaving New York City today will be some of the architects of the party’s get-out-the-vote effort. Reverend Morris Hurd of Marengo says he’s ready to burn some shoe leather.
“People are turning ads off,” Hurd says. “We can raise millions of dollars for ads and people aren’t listening to them, so if we want to win elections, we’ll have to learn to go door-to-door.”
Bernie Hayes of Cedar Rapids says first, he needs to catch up on some sleep, then he’ll go out and employ some of the things he learned in New York City. “I attended an African Americans for Bush seminar yesterday (with speakers) Lynn Swann and J.C. Watts,” Hayes says. “They’re saying, ‘Hey, let’s mobilize the black vote. Let’s get ’em out there and let ’em see the light.”
Chuck Laudner of Rockford works on Congressman Steve King’s staff, and they’ve been looking for votes who split their ticket, voting for republicans and democrats rather than voting straight party line.
“We’re using the most popular republican of their choice and trying to get them to vote straight ticket,” he says. Across the state in more-heavily-populated eastern Iowa, John Ortega of Bettendorf says the GOP is stepping up its get-out-the-vote effort, and what’s happening in Scott County is just one example.
“We’re going to open a new office down in Scott County, at the old American Water Company. It’s one of the biggest offices we’ve ever had…it’s two stories,” Ortega says. Former Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s oldest son, Eric, is working in that office. Dave Roederer, a former Branstad aide who is the Bush/Cheney campaign chair in Iowa, says the GOP’s get-out-the-vote effort is different than the democrats’ push to encourage early voting.
“It appears that the democrat approach is to try to get as many people to vote absentee as possible,” Roederer says. “What we’ve been trying to do one the republican side is we’ve been trying to identify those people who don’t necessarily vote every election, so we’re targeting ours a little bit.”