The new conservative groups aren't the first to work outside the GOP establishment -- even if many of their key personnel are inside-the-Beltway veterans. Freedom's Watch, which billed itself as a conservative version of MoveOn, spent $30 million during the 2008 cycle but shut down soon after the election when it failed to get close to the $250 million it had promised to spend to defeat Democrats that year.
"Freedom's Watch tried to fill that void, but they didn't wind up with the money they thought they would and closed their door," said [American Crossroads political director Carl] Forti, insisting that things are different now. "People recognize the tremendous opportunity for Republicans this year and that this role needs to be filled. Republicans are sick and tired of being outspent by Democrats."
The plethora of new groups mirrors an earlier Democratic organizational surge. "When you're winning, there's less imperative to start groups like this. When you're losing, there is," [pollster Whit] Ayres said. "We have lagged but we're fast catching up."
[Former RNC chair Ed] Gillespie agreed that Democrats had a head start in forming outside political action groups. "Republicans have finally come to terms that McCain-Feingold is the law of the land," he told AOL News. "It's probably time after three [election] cycles to stop complaining about it and start adapting to it. ... We just can't allow the left to have that playing field to themselves."
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Outside GOP Groups in 2010
At AOL News, Andrea Stone provides some background on American Crossroads and other outside GOP groups: