Georgians refuted any notion that the ideology of the country has shifted to the left. They supported the candidate who believes that people should keep their hard-earned dollars; that every American resource should be leveraged to address our energy crisis; that the role of judges is to interpret the Constitution; and that America must be vigilant against the very real threats to our nation and its citizens.
Notably, Chambliss won in spite of strong support by President-elect Obama and Democrat organizations for Jim Martin. Georgian’s clearly sent a message that any rhetoric about a liberal mandate is nothing but hot air. Georgians — and all Americans — will be watching Washington closely and expecting policies that make government work for them and not against small businesses and entrepreneurs.
In the first contest since the presidential election and what many believe is the first race of the 2010 cycle, Republicans won because we coupled a strong, conservative candidate in Saxby Chambliss with a solid ground game that reached out to millions of Georgians and turned out the vote. Chambliss’ reelection sends a message to all those who believe the Republican Party and its core principles are anything less than strong and competitive.
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The ground game that reelected Sen. Chambliss focused on the nuts-and-bolts of campaigning, enhanced by investments in technology that the RNC has made over the past two years. The Chambliss team, the Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the RNC were full partners in a Victory plan that executed the basics flawlessly. With dozens of RNC staff and hundreds of volunteers in 11 regional Victory offices across the state, our team contacted nearly a half-million Georgians in the last five days alone.
The RNC’s investment in technology over the past two years allowed our Republican team to maximize every volunteer’s time and every contributor’s donation on behalf of Chambliss, creating a get-out-the-vote effort that overwhelmed Democrats in the state. Through sophisticated online advertising techniques we reached hundreds of thousands of Republicans who requested absentee ballots, voted early, and found their polling station. Our investment in technology enabled our Victory program to significantly increase the Republican share of advance voters in the runoff election. We also provided volunteers the tools to make phone calls from home to likely supporters and/or send numerous e-mails to their neighbors engaging them in the reelection effort.
And while we overcame challenges in reelecting Chambliss in Georgia, we have another Republican leader seeking a conclusion to his race in Minnesota. We must not lose sight of the significance and absolute importance in ensuring Norm Coleman returns to Washington in the 111th Congress as Minnesota’s senior senator.
As I write, Coleman leads his opponent. Coleman won the election on Nov. 4, he won after the canvassing of votes had occurred, and he will be the winner at the end of the recount. These results only lead to one conclusion: Coleman will be reelected as a U.S. senator from Minnesota.
At the RNC, we have spent the past two years investing in programs, technology, and training staff and volunteers on the basic fundamentals of winning elections. Chambliss’ victory yesterday demonstrates the value of those investments and proves that Republicans still know to win elections.
As Republicans, we must continue to take stock of the 2008 elections — first and foremost, strengthening ourselves by listening to the American people. But that also means learning from our mistakes and acknowledging our successes. Our success in Georgia is a strong sign that reports of the GOP’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and I look forward to future Republican successes in 2009 and 2010.
Mike Duncan is chairman of the Republican National Committee and is believed to be seeking reelection to that post.