GOP Speaker Boehner channels Karl Rove to protect the Conservative majority
Speaker John Boehner has implemented a Karl Rove-like campaign strategy aimed at helping Republicans in blue and red states that are not considered competitive in the 2012 presidential contest.
Boehner is focused on so-called “orphan” districts, knowing that winning these races is the key to retaining the House GOP majority.
In February of last year, Boehner tasked his political staff with developing a program through the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) that would partner with state party operations that lack resources in a presidential election year. The joint venture is unique because the NRCC has traditionally focused on messaging, polls and TV ads.
New Jersey GOP "orphan" Jon Runyan
The Hill reports a political staffer familiar with the situation said that “the whole orphan dilemma was that you’ve got, effectively, the majority hanging in the balance of states that are not going to get any attention from the presidential campaign. They are not going to get a single dollar … to do the voter identification, to do the turnout, to do those basic blocking and tackling.”
Republican officials say Boehner is essentially using a page from Karl Rove’s political playbook, which uses “microtargeting” strategies to turn out GOP voters. Furthermore, Barry Jackson, Boehner’s senior adviser, worked under Rove for eight years in the George W. Bush White House.
The Speaker selected Chris McNulty to be deputy executive director to man the “orphan victory effort” in close contact with the NRCC, RNC, state parties and state delegations. McNulty formerly headed the Ohio Republican Party.
Taking on such a project was complicated because the NRCC has had limited coordination with state parties, especially in the nine orphan states: California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Utah and West Virginia.
New York GOP "orphan" Chris Gibson
Arguably the only competitive race in New Jersey is for Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R) seat, while California has a handful of tough contests, including Rep. Dan Lungren’s (R) Sacramento-based seat and freshman Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R) Central Valley-based district.
Other Republicans who look to benefit from the orphan program include Reps. Judy Biggert (Ill.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Bobby Schilling (Ill.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.) and Francisco “Quico” Canseco (Texas).
Boehner pledged to raise half the money needed for implementing the novel NRCC/state party partnership up front, tasking the state parties and members of those delegations with the other half. To date, Boehner has helped raise $10 million for the orphan victory effort.
If the Democrats win then the Wicked Witch will return to her castle.