The ‘Super Chase’ Strategy That Conservative Activists Hope Will Win the 2024 Election

PHOENIX, Ariz—Matthew Martinez bounded from map to map, a broad smile on his face.

He pointed out important areas of Arizona and Wisconsin—“super chase” jurisdictions scattered throughout the two battleground states.

Behind him, a few other Turning Point Action staffers were working at a bank of computers.

In the organization’s Phoenix headquarters, the workforce skewed young, in keeping with Turning Point’s focus on organizing and activating young conservatives. Mr. Martinez, a leader of the “Chase the Vote” initiative, is just 23.

He was okay with a journalist photographing his meticulously subdivided maps.

“I’m proud of this operation,” he told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Martinez was showing off the fruits of years of planning by his conservative organization, now ready for the 2024 cycle.

Using a relatively simple equation, Turning Point Action is going after crucial wards and precincts in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan. To pull it off, they’re hiring hundreds for a full-time “ballot-chasing army.”

Their goal: turn out Republicans who sat out the last two presidential elections. That includes more positive messaging around early voting and absentee voting.

Turning Point Action’s chief operating officer, Tyler Bowyer, told The Epoch Times his organization was “handed the playbook” they’re using by “defectors from the Left.” He declined to provide any names.

According to Mr. Bowyer, the strategy is downstream of the successful “Colorado model” that Democrats and liberal activists used to flip Colorado from red to blue.

“This is no secret. The Democrats have done this,” Mr. Martinez said.

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(Top) A view of Turning Point Action’s Chase the Vote maps for greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 10, 2024, at the organization’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. (Bottom L) Matthew Martinez of Turning Point Action explains the group’s Chase the Vote strategy on May 10, 2024. (Bottom R) Tyler Bowyer, Turning Point Action’s chief operating officer, in his office in Phoenix on May 10, 2024. (Nathan Worcester/The Epoch Times)

A Little Counterintuitive

Many of the areas the group is targeting are in deep red territory—for example, Rep. Eli Crane’s (R-Ariz.) district, rated solidly Republican by the Cook Political Report, or Waukesha County, Wisconsin, where President Donald Trump claimed 60 percent of the vote in 2020.

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But others are well within Blue America, like chunks of Dane County, home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. President Joe Biden claimed more than 75 percent of the vote there in the last presidential election.

For those used to politicians contesting competitive purple zones, the approach can seem a little counterintuitive.

While Turning Point Action spokesman Andrew Kolvet said the group is concerned about races “up and down the ticket,” the Chase the Vote strategy seems geared towards winning the presidency, with a few Senate races rendered more competitive in the process.

“We may not flip Dane County, but we can definitely flip the state if we make sure that Republicans turn out to vote in Dane County,” Mr. Martinez said of the “super chase” districts in that area.

“We need ten groups, a hundred groups doing similar things,” Mr. Kolvet said, stressing that Turning Point Action must steward its resources efficiently.

The project is much bigger than a row of colorful maps in Turning Point Action’s HQ, located a few feet away from the headquarters of its sister organization, Turning Point USA. For one thing, they’re chasing a lot of money.

Turning Point Action aims to raise $108 million for Chase the Vote. Mr. Kolvet said the organization has already raised tens of millions of dollars and described the $108 million figure as “aspirational.”

The initiative also aims to make GOP voters more comfortable with early voting, absentee voting, and other alternatives to same-day voting. After the controversial 2020 election, that might prove difficult. Yet, signals from the top could smooth the path.

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Election official Paula Volpiansky (L) signs voters’ sealed absentee ballots as a witness at the Madison Central Public Library on the last day of early voting in Milwaukee, Wis., on Nov. 6, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chipping Away

With less than half a year to go before Election Day, President Biden is facing headwinds, including Democratic infighting over Israel and historically low approval ratings. Recent polling from the New York Times and Siena College showed former President Trump ahead in five of six battleground states by margins as wide as 12 percent in Nevada and 10 percent in Georgia.

Yet, more than a few metrics favor the Democrats, at least for now.

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As of the end of March, committees supporting President Biden had $187.6 million cash on hand, while President Trump’s campaign and linked groups had $110.3 million. The Trump campaign has devoted millions to paying legal fees as the former president contends with multiple cases—a challenge President Biden doesn’t face.
The political intelligence firm AdImpact reported on May 13 that Democrats have booked hundreds of millions more in ads than Republicans in House races, Senate races, and the presidential contest. In the case of the Biden–Trump matchup, Democrats have so far spent $130 million to zero dollars by Republicans.
And Republicans from the purple suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, to the luxury hotels of Las Vegas acknowledge that Democrats have more and better organized forces at hand—the community organizers, union members, and other assorted activists who hit the streets before elections.

“The ground game—we need to sharpen that,” former Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz, now a Republican congressional candidate for the state’s Third District, told The Epoch Times.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) declined to provide specifics about its ground game to The Epoch Times.

Mr. Bowyer, who is also an RNC committeeman, recalled being told ahead of 2022 that the national Republican organization would do a better job in his battleground state after the debacle of 2020.

That year, the Senate Leadership Fund, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), pulled millions in advertising from Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters in late September. Despite a last-minute infusion of cash from the Club for Growth in late October, Mr. Masters ultimately lost to Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

“In the weeks leading up to the midterm, we realized things were egregiously wrong,” Mr. Bowyer said, contending that various Republican-linked organizations neglected Arizona that year.

He rejected the argument from Mr. McConnell and others that Republican weakness in that election came down to “candidate quality.”

“What the Democrats have figured out is that as long as you can turn out enough votes, it doesn’t matter who the candidate is,” he said.

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People socialize at a South Carolina Democratic Party celebration and dinner at the state fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Skepticism From Some

Barrett Marson, a public relations specialist who served as spokesman for Arizona House Speaker Jim Weiers, agreed that local Republicans’ ground game was lacking but voiced some skepticism about Turning Point Action’s efforts.

“While Turning Point has field operations, it of course has a lot of other issues that it’s facing,” he said.

He was referring to the resignation of Arizona state Rep. Austin Smith, a Republican, from Turning Point Action after he was accused of forging signatures on reelection nominating petitions. In addition, Mr. Bowyer was named in an April grand jury indictment over his involvement in the effort to select alternate electors after the contested 2020 presidential election in Arizona.

Mr. Bowyer declined to comment on either case to The Epoch Times, though he said he had no plans to leave Turning Point Action.

Marcus Dell’Artino, a strategist with FirstStrategic Public Affairs who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, told The Epoch Times that the idea of driving up turnout in deep red areas sounded much like the GOP’s approach in Arizona during the two previous election cycles.

“I’m skeptical if there is enough left on the table,” he said.

The view from Turning Point Action is that the mobilization of full-time, paid ballot chasers will set 2024 apart. A favorite phrase: “Bodies on the ground.”

“About time! It’s embarrassing to think how long it’s taken Republicans to start thinking about waging a real campaign,” said James Gimpel, a professor at the University of Maryland who has researched early voting, when asked by The Epoch Times about Turning Point Action’s ballot chasing initiative.

Republicans, he said, now draw from a more working-class and less educated base than they did in the past, making pre-election outreach more important.

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President Donald Trump stands with a student on stage during a Turning Point USA event in Washington on July 23, 2019. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

The professor questioned whether Turning Point Action will use a scientific approach to assess the effectiveness of its strategy.

“How sincere is this [Turning Point] effort?” he asked.

Sincerity did not appear to be lacking among the young conservatives at Turning Point Action’s HQ. But formal technical experience was a little less common.

“I have an, ‘I want to save the country,’ background,” said Benjamin Larrabee, Chase the Vote’s data analyst, when asked if he had a data analytics background.

For Chase the Vote, 2024 will be a test of sincerity, proficiency, and, not least, “bodies on the ground.” Success could reshape Republican thinking for a long time to come.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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