This summer, the Republican Party of Minnesota is launching a massive voter identification effort, one that will target 200,000 unidentified voters with the hopes of finding new conservative supporters.
“It’s pretty obvious to everyone that our technology and our lists were a disadvantage for us in the last election,” said Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey. “I’ve said all along that a critical first phase for the state Republican Party is to get our blocking and tackling back on track.”
For the next three months, the state party will be involved in a “voter identification blitz,” according to documents obtained by MPR News.
The party may spend an estimated $99,000 this summer on four field managers, phone banks, field technology and other expenses to find new conservative voters in key districts and urban centers, according to those documents. In part, the state’s local party units will help pay for the effort, anywhere from $25.00 to more than $100 a month for the next three months based on the number of state delegates each unit has.
Voter identification has been weak in recent election cycles, said 5th Congressional District Chair Nancy LaRoche.
“With any city, jobs come and go, people come and go,” she said. “Data that we get every year is not useable for the next campaign because of that transient quality here in Minneapolis.”
The party will spread its net wide in identifying new voters, but whether all those voters turn out to be people who would vote for a Republican candidate will likely be less certain, LaRoche explained. In LaRoche’s district, the party is hoping to find 1,250 “high-propensity” GOP voters.
The effort is also meant to get a better idea of what voters care about, said 3rd Congressional District Chair Rick Weible. Finding new voters could make all the difference in races that Republican barely lost in 2012, Weible said.
CIVIS Communications, a political consulting firm owned by major GOP donor Robert Cummins, will be managing party volunteers who collect new voter data, said firm chief Mike Scholl.
Zach Freimark, who was the party’s political director until recently, is also working for CIVIS.
“Freimark is now employed by CIVIS so that is a value to the project, too, in addition to the fact they have an outside vendor’s field mobile device system and have years of experience targeting in MN,” Downey wrote in an email to party members last month.
This year, Robert Cummins and his wife have given $20,000 to the state GOP’s federal account, which is used only to support federal candidates.
Read more about the voter ID project here: