The oppo-research carpet-bombing has commenced against Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, among others: America Rising was responsible for spotting and blasting out a video of Warren telling an audience she wants to “cut open” the bodies of Republicans to see if they have hearts, generating a spate of 2017 stories.
With a potentially colossal field of Democratic presidential contenders and no one close to being a front-runner, the mission figures to be an expensive endeavor. So donors across the country are quietly getting the hard sell as the group moves toward its goal of raising $8 million for the 2020 cycle — roughly three times as much as it took in during the successful three-year quest to help defeat Clinton.
Many of the opportunities begin at America Rising, which traces its roots to a co-founder’s apartment and now occupies the fifth floor of an office building in downtown Rosslyn, Virginia, just outside Washington. With two years still to go until the convention that crowns the Democratic presidential nominee, the number of employees has grown to 75, including 25 full-time candidate trackers.
Together, the team has already filed more than 300 Freedom of Information requests on potential 2020 candidates and monitored more than 700 livestreamed events. On a recent afternoon, dozens of researchers crouched over scattered desks, piecing together research “books” on each of the Democratic prospects.
Inside the group’s war room — which it staffs seven days a week — a group of 20- and 30-something men were seated at desks, staring at a bank of televisions tuned to C-SPAN and cable news, and uploading clips to a shared, searchable console.
The platform is designed to provide instant access to all of the war room alerts, including print, social media, TV, radio, tracking reports, event livestreams and video transcripts, an aide explained. All of the content can quickly be filtered and sorted by date, type and subject matter, given the large volumes.