WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee and some GOP allies are pushing back on a study that pins the loss of at least two Senate seats on the RNC's porous get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operation.
On Sunday, a relatively obscure political analysis group called Davis Intelligence Group released a report suggesting that GOTV problems likely cost Republicans Senate races in Washington and Colorado. It may have been worse, the firm added. "In nine of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country, the Republican candidate underperformed poll estimates by an average of 3.9%."
The critique echoed one that GOP operatives were making well before last Tuesday's election. But while the RNC may have had trouble on the fundraising front, an aide at the committee insists that its GOTV efforts were robust.
In Colorado, the aide says, the committee had victory offices in 13 different cities and made 2.4 million contacts. "That's not robocalls that's people picking up a phone and knocking on a door," said the aide. In Washington, the number of GOTV contacts made was over 1.15 million. "Nationally," the aide added, "we made more than 45 million volunteer voter contacts, compared to 31.5 million in 2008."
The problems that plagued Colorado Republican Ken Buck and Washington Republican Dino Rossi were, in actuality, more extensive than a shortfall in RNC support. Buck, in particular, was hampered by a variety of factors both extraneous and directly related to his candidacy.
Dick Wadhams, the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said that Buck's defeat was a direct result of independent women voters fleeing his campaign once the perception of him as a misogynist became crystallized. Another Republican operative who has been frequently critical of RNC operations in the past pinned the blame for Buck's defeat on the state's bizarre gubernatorial race, in which the GOP candidate basically folded.
"I suspect that the real issues are that the [Republican Governor's Association] pulled out of Colorado," the operative said.