RNC launches '50 State Strategy' to catch up to Dem ground game


"While the Obama campaign built this for one candidate, we are building a permanent campaign to help the Republican party up and down the ticket," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said.

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The RNC's plan mimics one used by Democrats after their 2004 election losses, when the GOP had the upper hand in field operations. Then-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean (D) took the controversial step of staffing up across the country, which helped produce House and Senate wins in some surprising places in 2006 and helped President Obama win some traditionally red states in 2008.

Democrats showed in 2008, and again in 2012, that they had a huge edge in technology and organizational ability in identifying potential voters and getting them to the polls. But as they proved in those years, fortunes can quickly reverse if one party grows complacent.

Kukowski tells CNN that the RNC will have "hundreds of staffer" and "nearly 100 offices" across the country, though she admitted not every state will have a field director by that point.

Democrats point out that this isn't the RNC's first effort at catching up in field operations.

"Reince Priebus is following the well-worn path of previous RNC Chairmen, including Michael Steele, Mike Duncan, Mel Martinez and Ken Mehlman who all pledged and failed to bring the Republican Party into the 21st Century," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin. "It's clear that Priebus and his predecessors value empty rhetoric over real results."

This post was updated at 3:10 p.m.