Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Kentucky) presidential campaign released a lengthy memo to reporters on Thursday pushing back against the idea that his campaign is about to end.
The memo, by top Paul adviser Doug Stafford and campaign manager Chip Englander, blasted the media for focusing on horse-race numbers instead of his organizational prowess.
“There are some in the media who are pushing a false narrative that Senator Rand Paul (SRP) is on the ropes,” Stafford and Englander began. “Here are the facts and why SRP is here to stay.”
Paul entered the presidential race as one of the most talked-about candidates, boosted by the passionate, libertarian-leaning supporters of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, who ran multiple times for the White House himself.
But as many media outlets — including Business Insider — have noted, Paul has since receded into the background of the race. He’s near the bottom of the field in public polls and posted less-than-blockbuster fundraising numbers. Reports denied by Paul have claimed that he is facing pressure to drop out and focus on his Senate reelection effort.
Stafford and Englander argued that the media was ignoring straw polls among conservative activists in favour of these sorts of process stories.
“The media can be forgiven for not grasping the significance of the ground organisation we are building because it is not highly visible except on the few occasions we mobilize (and win). Some reporters have covered the fact that [Paul] always comes in first when people are actually voting, although most have ignored it altogether,” they wrote.
Stafford and Englander went on to blast the media for allegedly only writing about Paul’s poll numbers when they are trending downward. They noted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) performed even more poorly than Paul in the latest Real Clear Politics average of national polls.
“What makes less sense, though, is that the media plays up any drop in the polls [Paul] experiences, while ignoring his momentum and the precipitous decline of other candidates,” the Paul staffers added.
“Although the criteria to make the cut for the next debate requires a 2.5% average in the polls, you never read anything about Christie, who currently sits at 1.9% in the RCP average of polls. The media is fixated on insisting that [Paul] should get out of the race even though he continues to win every time votes are counted and the polls show him on the rise.”
View the full memo below:
To: Interested Parties
From: Doug Stafford, Chief Strategist
Chip Englander, Campaign Manager
Re: Summary of Campaign Standing
Date: October 15, 2015
There are some in the media who are pushing a false narrative that Senator Rand Paul (SRP) is on the ropes.
Here are the facts and why [Paul] is here to stay.
Ground game and political organisation have a disproportionate impact in primaries and especially caucuses – and [Paul] has the best organisation in America.
Three times [Paul] has competed against the other contenders in presidential straw polls – and every time he has won. He won at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the same straw poll Reagan won that helped launch his 1980 candidacy. He won at the Republican Leadership Conference, the largest straw poll in America. And he won this past weekend at the largest New Hampshire straw poll. At all of these straw polls, other contenders competed, paid for supporters, and went in to win it. Each time they failed.
In New Hampshire, where [Paul] won over the weekend, our organisation has a statewide Leadership Team of over 300 members-nearly triple the size of our closest rival. This well-respected team of veteran grassroots organisers were the catalyst of this weekend’s win and will be vital to future victories.
[Paul]’s strength in New Hampshire comes from his continued legwork in the state. He’s been there more than most of the candidates. He was there last weekend, he will be there next weekend, and he will be there a third time at the end of this month. Like John McCain in 2008, Senator Paul’s campaign isn’t showing up in October polling, but will be there when it counts-on Election Day.
Our campaign is similarly well-positioned in Iowa. [Paul] has already announced co-chairs in each of Iowa’s 99 counties and has 600 precinct captains that are actively recruiting supporters and volunteers. This team has been able to call over 100,000 voters in the past few weeks alone.
Like New Hampshire, our Iowa team provides the backbone of the ground force needed to win a trench warfare campaign. As demonstrated in both parties’ campaigns for President, to win in Iowa, a strong ground force, not money, is the true game changer. In 2012, Rick Santorum was vastly outspent by Mitt Romney, yet he won Iowa. In 2008, Mike Huckabee was vastly outspent and won Iowa. In 2004, Democrat Howard Dean had all the money and resources, but John Kerry’s in-state volunteer force propelled him to the top. That’s how Iowa campaigns are won-through the hard work of motivated, well-organised, and passionate grassroots supporters.
[Paul] is also making a historic effort to build a Students for Rand organisation that will play heavily in Iowa and change the way Republicans treat the youth vote. Nationally, the organisation established over 350 chapters since launch. Students make the calls and walk the doors. They also give the campaign the ability to organise cheaply in later states.
And in Iowa, Students for Rand will have a huge impact.
In 2012, 121,000 Iowans participated in their Republican caucus. In 2008, 119,000 Iowans participated in their Republican caucus. Although Iowa is not one of the most populous states in the country, large schools such as the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are part of a student population of over 120,000.
Yet this sizable student population factored little in the last two Iowa caucuses because they occurred during winter break on January 3. Due to a change in RNC rules, the 2016 caucuses will occur on February 1 when school is in session. With 120,000 voters and over 120,000 students, students are set to dominate the caucuses in an unprecedented way and we are set to dominate this demographic.
While the media fixates on ad buys and fundraising, we are the only campaign organising on campuses. For example, when the University of Iowa kicked off back-to-school week we were the only campaign tabling and signing people up. There are twenty Students for Rand chapters across Iowa. Every campus event sees hundreds, if not thousands, of excited students ready to stand with Rand. Just this week, [Paul] crisscrossed Iowa as part of an 11-campus barnstorm, hitting schools in every corner of the state, signing up hundreds of caucus attendees and volunteers at every stop.
You will not see this student advantage show-up in polls, but you will see it show-up in elections-just like the straw polls we keep winning.
Debates, Polls, and Fundraising
The media can be forgiven for not grasping the significance of the ground organisation we are building because it is not highly visible except on the few occasions we mobilize (and win). Some reporters have covered the fact that [Paul] always comes in first when people are actually voting, although most have ignored it altogether.
What makes less sense, though, is that the media plays up any drop in the polls [Paul] experiences, while ignoring his momentum and the precipitous decline of other candidates.
Since the last debate, [Paul] has moved up three spots in the polls. The two most recent polls determining who makes the next debate-conducted by CBS and Fox-had [Paul] outpolling Christie and Kasich. [Paul] is well within the criteria for the next debate-no question, he will be on the stage. Moreover, earlier this month Reuters-which independent analysts called the most accurate pollster of the last presidential election-had [Paul] in fifth place ahead of Rubio, Cruz, and others.
Although the criteria to make the cut for the next debate requires a 2.5% average in the polls, you never read anything about Christie, who currently sits at 1.9% in the RCP average of polls. The media is fixated on insisting that [Paul] should get out of the race even though he continues to win every time votes are counted and the polls show him on the rise.
The timing of the next two debates gives [Paul] an advantage because viewers will be able to decide the narrative for themselves. While each of the first three debates experienced 5-6 week breaks between them, the next two debates are separated by only 13 days – a significant opportunity for [Paul] to have some repetition before voters for the first time.
This gives [Paul] the opportunity to further build on his recent momentum following the Reagan Library debate. Two of the three straw polls [Paul] has won have come since the debate, and [Paul] raised nearly a million dollars in the final twelve days after the last debate.
[Paul] currently has over $US2 million cash-on-hand and is running a lean campaign heavy on organisation and light on expensive advertising. [Paul] has the financial resources to continue indefinitely and will keep racking up wins once the voting begins.
If you were [Paul] – with $US2 million, little overhead, the best organisation in America, always on the debate stage, and you were winning 100% of the time votes were counted – would you bet you’re closer to dropping out or that you were nearing a breakthrough? We bet on breakthrough-and the continued passion and dedication of our team to fight for Senator Paul’s vision of liberty, opportunity and justice for all Americans is what will bring us success when it actually counts – on Election Day.
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