On the trail: In final stretch to election, it’s all about GOTV

  • U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey returned to New Hampshire to campaign for fellow Democrats Maggie Hassan, Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas. Paul Steinhauser—For the Monitor

For the Monitor
Published: 10/28/2022 10:49:27 AM
Modified: 10/28/2022 10:49:13 AM

To many people, GOTV may sound like some kind of television network.

But in campaign world lingo, GOTV is the acronym for Get Out the Vote.

And with Election Day 2022 fast approaching, for the Democratic and Republican parties in New Hampshire and across the country, a number of close contests could come down to which side has better GOTV efforts.

New Hampshire Republicans are showcasing what they call their record-breaking voter contact milestone.

GOP officials highlight that the Republican National Committee, working in coordination with the New Hampshire Republican Party, has made over 1 million voter contacts this cycle, which they say is a record for a midterm election cycle. They note that they currently have 16 staff across the Granite State and that their efforts are fueled by more than 130 neighborhood teams statewide.

“The best way for volunteers to make a difference is through direct voter contact, and making 1 million of those underscores just how fired up Republicans are to show up for our nominees up-and-down the ballot,” Andrew Mahaleris, the RNC communications director in New Hampshire and Maine, told the Monitor.

Mahaleris spotlighted that in the final week and a half leading up to Election Day, Republicans aimed to make over 100,000 voter contacts through door-knocking and phone banking.

New Hampshire Democrats tout that they’ve made what they describe as “unprecedented investments in our field program,” which included hiring staff earlier and in more districts than ever before. They also say that their state legislative campaign efforts have shattered fundraising records this cycle.

Longtime state party chair Ray Buckley showcased that while “our field programs have always been our number one priority” and that “this year’s Get Out The Vote program is the most comprehensive and well-run campaign in the history of the state party. The scale of our efforts is unprecedented in scope, and has paid incredible dividends in terms of volunteer capacity, absentee voting, and campaign data analytics.”

And pushing back against his Republican counterparts, Buckley argued that “we are well aware of the field figures the NH GOP is offering to press and their supporters and we can confidently say our program has exceeded theirs in every meaningful metric.”

Midterm elections are often won by the party that can better motivate and get their base voters to the polls. So bravado aside, we’ll likely find out when the election results pour in which party’s GOTV efforts were more successful.

High profile surrogates in NH this weekend

First Lady Jill Biden returns to New Hampshire this weekend, to campaign with former governor and first-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, who’s facing a stiff challenge from Republican Senate nominee and former Army Gen. Don Bolduc.

The first lady, who’s been crisscrossing the country on the campaign trail on behalf of fellow Democrats in the stretch run leading up to Election Day, will team up with Hassan on Saturday afternoon in Manchester and later in Portsmouth.

Hassan is running for re-election in a very difficult political environment for Democrats that’s accentuated by President Joe Biden’s improving but still underwater approval ratings. She continues to point out her policy differences with the president and his administration.

On Sunday, Bolduc is joined in New Hampshire by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is the re-election arm for the Senate GOP.

Earlier this week the NRSC reinvested in the Senate race in the Granite State, announcing that it was dishing out roughly $1 million on a new TV ads financed jointly between the committee and the Bolduc campaign.

The NRSC’s move came four days after the Senate Leadership Fund, which is aligned with longtime Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and is the top super PAC backing Senate Republican incumbents and candidates, canceled its remaining $5.6 million ad reservation in that state in support of Bolduc.

The most recent polling in the race suggests that the contest has tightened, with Hassan’s once comfortable lead over Bolduc shrinking.

“Our polling, along with recent public polling, shows that this race is in the margin of error and winnable. The NRSC is proud to stand with General Bolduc. We’re going to win this race so Don Bolduc can bring real leadership back to this Senate seat,” Scott said in a statement.

The race in New Hampshire is one of a handful across the country in key swing states that will determine if the GOP wins back the Senate majority in the midterm elections.

Booker weighs in on primary in return to NH

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey returned to New Hampshire this week, to campaign with all three members of the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation who are running for re-election this year – Hassan and U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas.

Booker spent plenty of time in New Hampshire as he ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. His return to the state that for a century has held the first primary in the presidential nominating calendar sparked some speculation that the senator may still harbor national ambitions.

But Booker, who also returned to New Hampshire last December to headline a major state Democratic Party fundraising gala, highlighted his support for President Joe Biden to run for re-election in 2024. He praised Biden as “a president who’s passed the most bipartisan bills in [an] era of great partisanship,” and emphasized that “I’m just one of those people who believe that President Biden should run for re-election on that record.”

Asked about another White House run of his own someday, Booker, 53, said “I’m fortunate. I’m young. There’s a lot of run way ahead of me.”

And amid serious efforts this year by the Democratic National Committee to drop the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary from their lead-off positions at the top of the party’s nominating calendar and replace them with more urban and diverse states, Booker defended the Granite State’s cherished primary position.

“As a guy who has a lot of love for the Granite State, who came up here and just sees how special this tradition is. I get it now after coming here. It is a small state where people really get involved and really get to know their candidates. I want this state to remain at the top of our primary list,” Booker emphasized.

But then apparently giving himself some wiggle room, he added that “I think that its history and its legacy have earned to be at the top group at the top order.”

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