By Molly K. Hooper - 11/02/12 12:29 PM EDT
More than 600 Washington, D.C.-based GOP campaign volunteers will fan out across the country in the final days of the campaign to help Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) retain a GOP House.
The volunteers will help House candidates with their ground game in more than a dozen “orphan” states that President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are largely ignoring because the result in the presidential race is certain.
“We have an additional 25 open-seat or pickup opportunities in orphan states. The point is … the battle for the House can be won or lost in these orphan states without ever considering Ohio, Virginia or Florida,” Boehner said.
It is generally thought that Republicans will retain their House majority, but they are in danger of losing some seats, and Boehner told those on the call that their efforts would be integral to keeping a House GOP majority, according to one source on the call.
Volunteers are headed to Illinois, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Kentucky, West Virginia, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
None are major fields in the presidential race, with the exception of Pennsylvania, where Romney is making a late effort. The Republican also believes he has a chance to win over Minnesota and Michigan, which, like Pennsylvania, have gone with Democratic candidates in recent elections.
Boehner developed the “orphan district” program in concert with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in early 2011, when it was clear that a decisive number of House races would be fought in states where the presidential contenders won’t have a ground game up and running.
The volunteers are expected to man phone banks and go door to door to identify pockets of GOP voters to get them to the polls.
Boehner’s strategy is adopted from GOP maestro Karl Rove to help state parties in places like California and New York.
“The partnership with the state parties and the RNC in this nationwide ‘orphan’ endeavor has been groundbreaking,” Boehner said on the call. “To date, our volunteers have made over 9.3 million voter contacts in these orphan districts alone. We have a goal of 10 million contacts by the time this thing is over. I am confident you will hit and exceed that goal.”
A number of “orphan offices” in the states have already been opened.
California opened 12 offices in May, June and July; Illinois opened six offices in early June; and New York opened 10 offices from June through August. There were 11 more offices opened in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas, Utah and West Virginia throughout the summer, according to a political memo obtained by The Hill in October.
The volunteers headed out to the orphan districts will be reporting to staff manning those offices.
Boehner said the new volunteers need to “hit the ground running.”
“You are the fresh troops [who] will be knocking doors during the day and making phone calls when the sun goes down,” Boehner said.
According to seasoned California GOP consultant Rob Stutzman, at least two offices were opened in the California East Bay-area district of Rep. John Garamendi (D), whom Republicans believe to be vulnerable. Other offices were opened in Rep. Dan Lungren's (R) and Rep. Jeff Denham's (R) districts.
Boehner will be spending the lead-up to Election Day in Ohio, which has become ground zero in the presidential race.
The Speaker on Saturday will begin his "Real Recovery Road Rally” with 13 scheduled stops in different counties across Ohio.