Republican Strategy to Support Roskam & Defeat Casten

Republican Strategy to Support Roskam & Defeat Casten
by Reid McCollum

The race for the Illinois 6th Congressional District, and various down-ballot races as a result, will be won or lost this summer at the doors of voters. The scary reality is that conservative Super PACs with nearly unlimited money have realized this. Rather than simply pouring all of their money into TV ads and mailers in the final weeks of the race, the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP) are setting up shadow campaigns with field offices in our neighborhoods.

This isn’t the same old case of billionaires throwing endless money at Republicans. It’s something new. And it’s a wake up call.

Politico reported in May that CLF had raised $71 million to create a “massive hyper-local grass-roots organization” with 34 field offices devoted to saving the GOP House majority in 2018.[1] One of these offices is in Glen Ellyn, and we’ve seen it. There were dozens of names of canvassers on an enormous whiteboard who are knocking doors and making phone calls on behalf of Peter Roskam. AFP has a field office in Rolling Meadows with a similar operation underway.

Please allow this to sink in… Thirty canvassers knocking doors 15 hours a week can knock 10,000 doors EVERY WEEK. For context, that’s how many doors a local coalition of grassroots groups with 300 volunteers knocked over four months in 2017. Professional organizers for CLF placed innocuous-sounding fellowship opportunities into area high schools and recruited conservative students to devote significant time over the summer to supporting Roskam.

You might be thinking that Democratic outrage over Trump and enthusiasm for November 6 will no doubt mean a landslide victory up and down the ticket even if we get out hustled in the field. But that’s a dangerous delusion.

A Pew Research Center Survey from June found that 55% of those who support the Democratic House candidate in their district are more enthusiastic about voting than usual. Yet 50% of those who support the Republican are more enthusiastic.[2]This five percent advantage for Democrats is very small relative to recent “wave” elections; the GOP had a 13 percent advantage in 2010 when they picked up 63 House seats, and the Democrats had a 17 percent advantage in 2006 when they picked up 31 seats.

So it’s up to us! We have to knock more doors than the conservative students, paid canvassers, and GOP precinct committeemen or we’ll find that the blue wave never makes it to shore on November 6.