I’ve had a few people ask me about my comments in this morning’s paper, both via email and stopped on the way out the door at church.
The reason is just this — if the GOP can capture either the 12th or the 8th, it means that its ground game is as good as is being hyped. If the efforts fail, the GOTV effort will have been proven not up to the task.
Now, for the GOP, this can be extrapolated nationally. Democrat GOTV efforts center primarily around candidates, with party assistance. So, each state depends on its slate of candidates and third party groups. like unions, to organize and man GOTV efforts. The party assists, but it falls mostly to candidates.
The GOP, on the other hand, abandoned that approach in 2000. It now centers around the local GOPs, with heavy training and involvement from the state and national Republican committees. The training is the same, coordination is the same, etc. The GOP is therefore able take, just as an example, field operatives from Bibb County, Georgia, and insert them into Pinellas County, Florida and they are ready to go out and perform GOTV with little additional briefing.
As a result, we can say that if the GOTV efforts are not up to par in either GA-8 or GA-12, the GOP nationally is going to have trouble.
And to put this in further perspective, in more than a dozen tightly contested Congressional Districts around the country, including at least one here in Georgia, more Republicans have already cast early and absentee ballots this year than were cast total in 2004.