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Conservative Groups See ‘Fruits’ Of Pennsylvania Vote-By-Mail Campaign

Anderson said the GOTV campaign has brought in some 40,000 low-propensity Republican voters who have joined the absentee voter list.

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An eight-figure campaign to target traditionally reluctant Republicans to vote by mail is beginning to bear “early fruits,” the head of one of three conservative groups leading the key swing state effort tells The Federalist. 

And the get-out-the-vote initiative is soon to expand into two other states featuring pivotal Senate races.

Last month, the Sentinel Action Fund, the Republican State Leadership Committee PAC, and the Keystone Renewal PAC announced the “historic” investment to put Republicans in a position to win in November by doing what Democrats have historically done so well: use voting by mail to harvest victory. 

“It’s going very well. We are starting to see the early fruits of our labor,” Jessica Anderson, president of the Sentinel Action Fund, told The Federalist in an interview. 

Sentinel bills itself as “the only conservative Super PAC with a year-round ground game committed to turning out absentee, early vote, and ‘day of’ voters.” And the group is hitting the ground running. Anderson said the GOTV effort has sent out multiple rounds of mailers and has hit Pennsylvania’s airwaves with digital ads to go after about 1.2 million low-propensity voters in the Keystone State — eligible voters who infrequently participate in elections. The campaign is targeting Republicans who have only voted once or twice in the last four election cycles, Anderson said. 

“Those voters are key for us [in the presidential election] and for David McCormick winning Pennsylvania,” Anderson said. 

The Keystone Renewal PAC has spent more than $580,000 thus far backing McCormick, former CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds. The committee has dropped another $300,000-plus opposing incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, according to political cash tracker Open Secrets. McCormick lost Pennsylvania’s 2022 Republican primary for U.S. Senate to surgeon and television personality Mehmet Oz in a race ultimately won by cognitively challenged Democrat John Fetterman. 

McCormick and Casey each won their respective party primaries last week, setting up a “high stakesrace that could determine not only who Pennsylvania sends to the Senate, but which party controls the upper house. 

“The Republican State Leadership Committee PAC, Keystone Renewal PAC, and the Sentinel Action Fund’s strategic investment into Pennsylvania is showing a lot of promise and we’re excited to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work necessary between now and November to ensure that we elect Republicans up-and-down the ballot in the Commonwealth,” said RSLC PAC President Dee Duncan.

‘Every Tool We Have’

Anderson said the GOTV campaign has brought into the fold some 40,000 low-propensity Republican voters who have joined the absentee voter list, according to their internal models of proprietary elections data. She also asserted that a total of 236,000 Republican voters had requested absentee ballots for the April 23 primary, an increase of more than 36,000 requests from the 2022 state primary.

“We’re pleased with the numbers from Tuesday. It shows really good momentum,” the super PAC president said. 

But she acknowledges there’s much to accomplish in the months ahead. Much of that work involves educating Pennsylvanians who don’t often vote about why their ballots are so important, and how convenient absentee voting and vote-by-mail are. Anderson said last week that an army of door knockers was expected to begin doing just that over the weekend.

It’s no easy feat. Pennsylvania state Rep. Dawn Keefer says many of her constituents, like many conservatives across the country, have a deep distrust for mail-in voting — trust issues exacerbated by left-wing election shenanigans in the 2020 election. She said low-propensity voters “live in different bubbles.” 

“They can tell you which lipstick Kim Kardashian wears but they don’t know who their state representative is,” said Keefer, who is leading Pennsylvania state lawmakers in a federal lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14019. The fiat commands the federal government to work with left-wing third-party groups and state agencies on voter registration and GOTV efforts that are targeted in a way that’s likely to help Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

The lawmaker said the low turnout in last week’s election gives her pause, underlining the importance of all legal conservative get-out-the-vote initiatives leading up to November’s general election.  

“We have to use every single thing we have, every tool we have,” Keefer said. “We’re not trying to cannibalize in-person voting, we’re trying to make sure we’re engaging low-propensity voters.” 

‘Too Big to Rig’

Donald Trump pursued a “highly unorthodox strategy of courting unlikely voters during the [2016] Republican primaries, focusing on people who rarely participate in GOP primary elections,” FiveThirtyEight reported in 2016. It worked. Trump won — in the primary and general election. 

The former president and Biden’s challenger in a repeat of the 2020 election seems focused on a similar strategy this time around. 

“We want a landslide that is too big to rig,” Trump said at a campaign rally last month. He promised to secure U.S. elections with a goal of “one-day voting with paper ballots and voter ID.” But he and fellow Republicans have to win before they can hope to accomplish any of that, and winning requires beating Democrats at their own GOTV games. 

Republican National Committee co-chair and Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump has said as much, although that message seems to be muddled at the top of the RNC. As my colleague Brianna Lyman recently reported, the committee plans to overhaul the early voting “Bank Your Vote” initiative, the brainchild of former Chair Ronna McDaniel. RNC officials claim the upgrade “will include an effort to bank Republican votes.” 

Lyman wrote:

The RNC told The Federalist that its new plan would include a vote-banking program in addition to a “Grow The Vote” initiative aimed at reaching nontraditional Republican voters. When The Federalist asked how this new program would conduct vote banking and what metrics it would use to target voters, [Committee spokeswoman Danielle] Alvarez said the RNC has “paid staffers and volunteer-powered field programs in every battleground state and they are expanding daily” but did not provide numbers or specific details, expressing concern about giving away their plan. 

Anderson described the apparent renovations at the RNC as a “weird moment,” but believes with Trump taking the reins of the party the focus will be on reaching every voter possible, as early as possible. 

“I really think we need to stay consistent. We want unity across the party for this and I think we’re going to see more of that now that President Trump came out more forcefully last week,” Anderson said. 

She said the mission must focus on fighting for election integrity and using the “rules that exist” to win elections. 

Better Ballot Chasing

Republicans haven’t been very good at getting that message in recent years. As the Sentinel Action Fund notes in a memo released last month: 

In the 2022 Election Cycle, over $8.9 billion was spent on federal elections; and on the Republican side, no major independent expenditure organization was focused on GOTV efforts or ballot chasing.

Couple this with the reality that the Left has built out a complex election turnout scheme utilizing 501c3 non-profits, for-profits, a weaponized Biden Administration and private cash donations from Billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.

Considering this landscape, the memo urged:

To win in 2024, Republicans need to win by a large enough margin to overcome any instances of fraud. This means showing up to vote early and bringing family members and friends with you to the polls.

We’re talking about very thin margins in a deeply divided nation. In 2020, Biden claimed victory in Pennsylvania by a scant 1.2 percent. As Domenico Montanaro of disgraced National Public Radio put it, “just 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin separated Biden and Trump from a tie in the Electoral College.”

“Republicans lost the U.S. Senate by 233,036 votes (NV/GA/AZ) out of the 81,276,287 votes cast in those races across the country,” the Sentinel Action Fund memo notes. “If we increased GOP turnout by .003% in these states, the GOP would control the Senate. In Nevada alone, the race came down to just 7,928 ballots. A little boost can go a very long way in razor thin elections.”

Anderson said the super PAC is taking the campaign to reach low-propensity voters to Ohio and Montana, states with closely contested Senate races that could tip the Democrats’ 51-49 majority to Republicans. She said the partnership will launch an “eight- to nine-figure” GOTV campaign in Ohio by Memorial Day, and a “six- to seven-figure” effort in Montana after that. 

“We are reminding everyone that the conservative movement in America is at this very important inflection point,” Anderson said. 


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