Kibbe indicated that model of highly-customized pleas for support and policy pitches may be one that FreedomWorks will attempt to translate to its own email community, FreedomConnector, which Kibbe says is 2 million supporters strong.
Many observers have attributed GOP candidate Mitt Romney's election loss to a failure to communicate effectively, and the Republican Party as a whole is looking at its messaging. Kibbe said FreedomWorks is engaged in the process of evaluating the way it talks to like-minded individuals as well.
He said the group will work to “translate those substantive ideas” on the economy and the debt supported by the Tea Party movement “into a consumable, 30-second curriculum that’s more accessible to a busy mom with two kids who spends one night a week going to her local Tea Party meeting.”
Republicans also faced a daunting gender gap on Election Night, with Obama winning over female voters by 11 percentage points, according to exit polls. Obama also took 24 points more of the youth vote, and Kibbe says he hopes to “work a little bit closer with [retiring Texas Republican Rep.] Ron Paul” to engage the “Ron-Paul Millennials” in the future.
Although he failed to ultimately win GOP nomination, Paul pulled large crowds of passionate, young supporters at college campuses throughout the nation.
“We have to be willing to ditch the suits and the Adam SmithAdam SmithTax fairness critical to sustaining growth of energy sector Dems press White House counsel on Flynn firing Dems ask Ryan to invite Australian leader to address Congress MORE ties, and maybe start talking in a language and living in a world in which young people live,” Kibbe said.
Kibbe, a former Capitol Hill staffer, spoke to The Hill about the future of the organization at the end of a week of turmoil for FreedomWorks. Former chairman Dick Armey's departure was accompanied by the exit of a number of other top staffers and questions from activists about the group's future.
But Armey’s exit will not leave FreedomWorks with a large hole, nor significantly shake up the organization's plans going forward, which will include involvement in the 2014 primary elections, Kibbe said.
"It was a nasty divorce which unfortunately spilled out into the public. I think we've all moved on and everything's back to normal," he said in a phone conversation on Friday.
Armey told Mother Jones, which first reported his exit, that he left the group because "the top management team … was taking a direction I thought was unproductive," and it was evident from his letter of resignation that the split was less than amicable.
"They were matters of principle. It's how you do business as opposed to what you do," he said.
Kibbe said he was not party to any of the negotiations or discussions surrounding Armey's departure, and declined to comment further on what he called the "inner workings of a family squabble." But he said that many of the group's plans, which were "already on the blackboard," wouldn't change.
“In a lot of ways, we're going to be heading in exactly the same direction we were before. But we're certainly doing a critical assessment of what we did right and what we did wrong in this election,” he said.
In the 2012 cycle, FreedomWorks spent about $40 million in both contributions to candidates and on its own campaigning and advertising for contenders. According to data collected by the Sunlight Foundation, about one-fourth of the spending by the group’s affiliated super PAC, FreedomWorks for America, achieved the desired result.
FreedomWorks will likely also play a larger role in recruiting and supporting its favored candidates in primaries, both for statewide, and perhaps even national, races.
“I think in 2014, 2016, we're going to start recruiting candidates that fit our philosophical criteria and have the capacity to win statewide and possibly national races," Kibbe said.
Tags Adam Smith