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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Romney Ahead in Organization and Technology

Team Romney was confident going into Florida, Michigan, Arizona, and Ohio. As Sasha Issenberg writes at Slate, Romney already was ahead in the vote:
Even a late surge or Romney’s own collapse was unlikely to redraw the outcome. “You want to get as many people to vote absentee-ballot as you can—it saves money and banks votes,” says Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director. “So no matter what happens in the last week you have votes in the bank they can’t take away.”

Once-meaningful distinctions between early voting, voting-by-mail, and absentee ballots are being erased as 32 states now offer voters the chance to cast their ballot before Election Day without a justifying excuse (as traditional absentee balloting required). It probably amounts to the most radical change to American voting culture since the abolition of poll taxes. In 2008, one-third of Americans are believed to have voted by a method other than showing up in person at a polling place on the first Tuesday in November, some doing so as early as September.

Romney’s canny and competent handling of these varied early-voting processes this year has helped him accumulate a seemingly insurmountable lead in delegates. He is running the only modern, professional campaign against a field of amateurs gasping to keep up, and nowhere is that advantage more evident than in his mastery of early voting. Capitalizing on early-voting procedures demands formidable investment up front in the service of later savings.
The Guam Republican official tells NRO that one reason for Romney’s success was his organization. He earned [Governor Eddie] Calvo’s endorsement after organizing a conference call between his policy staff and the governor’s aides and chatting with Calvo himself over the phone. He also sent his son Matt to address the delegates. Santorum, meanwhile, did not reach out to the governor, though he did call in to a local radio show and hold a conference call with legislators.
The conference call, however, was less than successful. While chatting with them, Santorum revealed he knew little about the territory’s political problems — such as the transfer of Marines from Okinawa to the island, for example.
Santorum also paid dearly for a joke he had made at Guam’s expense while in New Hampshire. Pledging to eliminate the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Santorum had told a crowd that, since judges had life appointments, he would ship them to Guam to keep them as far away from the continental U.S. as possible. Guam Republicans weren’t pleased, and they showed their displeasure by giving a unanimous vote of confidence to Romney.
UPDATE: Another Guam Republican points out that Santorum and Newt Gingrich sent letters to be read at the convention. Santorum’s arrived on time for a reading, but Gingrich’s was a tad too late. It was mentioned in today’s papers.
And why was it such a smart move to organize little Guam?  Nate Silver tweets:
Based on turnout in Guam and Florida, a vote in Guam was almost 1,500 times more powerful under G.O.P. delegate rules.
At the Los Angeles Times, Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta sum up:
Romney has built an operation unrivaled in its vigilance and precision, which has allowed him to raise more money, reach more voters and rack up more delegates than any other candidate. Santorum has reveled in his paper-clip-and-baling-wire effort — relying on grass-roots supporters and low-dollar donors to propel his campaign.