At an Election Night press conference at Republican National Committee headquarters shortly after the polls closed in most U.S. states, party Chairman Reince Preibus said success was “clearly in view,” referring to the GOP wins that helped the party capture control of the U.S. Senate.
“We couldn’t be happier with what’s been happening around the country,” said Preibus as he credited the GOP’s recruitment of “stellar candidates” and “winning governors.”
The RNC chairman was flanked by the chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, leaders of two organizations with which the RNC has worked hand-in-hand this election cycle.
Preibus cited Rep. Cory Gardner’s U.S. Senate win in Colorado as just one of the flagship victories of the night. In 2008, that swing state flipped to Democrat control. Gardner’s win helped put points on the board in the 2014 midterms, but also bodes well for the GOP’s chance to win back the battleground state of Colorado in the 2016 presidential contest.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, chairman of the NRSC, said he is proud of his organization’s progress over the last two years, saying that two years ago, the naysayers said a GOP takeover of the Senate couldn’t be done.
Moran said when the GOP takes over the Senate, the “top priority will be to show we can govern.” He said the upper chamber needs to function and to engage in discussion and debate on the Senate floor.
Although a Senate majority certainly gives Republicans a political edge, the NRSC chairman said that ending Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s dysfunction in Washington “will be beneficial not just to Republicans, but it will be beneficial to the country.”
He added, “But it also sets the stage that demonstrates that Republicans can be trusted to be elected to the presidency in 2016.”
As for the House, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the NRCC, said Democrats are already attempting to downplay GOP victories. Nancy Pelosi said in recent days that any GOP victories will be short-lived, predicting Democrat triumphs in Congress and the White House in 2016.
When asked if the GOP will begin preparing for 2016 tomorrow, Preibus said the organization is already focused on upping the ante in its digital strategy and ground game.
“What we’re [doing] at the RNC is putting together a competent national party that’s got its act together when it comes to a ground game and when it comes to our digital and data operation,” Preibus said. “It’s all the boring stuff that nobody wants to talk about, but mechanics are what wins races and that’s what we’re committed to at the RNC.”
Preibus knows of which he speaks. An underdog in both his nomination for the RNC chairmanship as well as when he took the helm of the party, the data-driven chairman inherited a mess at the RNC and has succeeded in whipping the party’s digital and ground game operations into shape.
In the 2014 midterms, the RNC put 16,000 precinct captains in place in communities across the United States, had made 1.3 million voter contacts by mid-summer, and touched another 10 million low-propensity voters to engage them and get them to the polls on Election Day.
As for the Senate races still in limbo after Election Night, Preibus said that logistics are already in motion to dispatch more than 300 GOP campaign workers to Louisiana for the runoff election there in December.
“We’ve already got the hotel contract booked and signed,” he said. “Now we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do about Thanksgiving with 300 paid staffers or more, paid, on the ground in Louisiana.”