Democrats Aim to Make 2014 More Like 2012 and 2008

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from The New York Times,

Guy Cecil, center, the director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with Anne Caprara, the political director, and Matt Canter, the deputy executive director, during a strategy meeting on Capitol Hill

The Democrats’ plan to hold onto their narrow Senate majority goes by the name “Bannock Street project.” It runs through 10 states, includes a $60 million investment, and requires more than 4,000 paid staffers. And the effort will need all of that — and perhaps more — to achieve its goal, which is nothing short of changing the character of the electorate in a midterm cycle.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is preparing its largest and most data-driven ground game yet, relying on an aggressive combination of voter registration, get out the vote, and persuasion efforts.

They hope to make the 2014 midterm election more closely resemble a presidential election year, when more traditional Democratic constituencies — single women, minorities and young voters — turn out to vote in higher numbers, said Guy Cecil, the committee’s executive director.

While the goal is ambitious, Mr. Cecil has some experience. “Bannock Street” is drawn from the name of the Denver field headquarters for the campaign of Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, for whom Mr. Cecil was the chief of staff. Mr. Bennet won in 2010 by generating higher than forecast turnout.

“We’re making a fundamentally different choice,” said Mr. Cecil, who laid out the Democratic Senate strategy in an interview at the committee’s headquarters. “Yes, we have to be on TV and yes we have to help close the gap between Democrats and Republicans on the air, but we’re not willing to sacrifice the turnout operation or the field operation to do that.”

Even with new funding and tactical tools, the Democratic Senate campaigns face considerable challenges. The voting rates of core Democratic constituencies — African Americans, Hispanics, unmarried women, younger voters — historically drop off considerably in midterm elections. According to data from the Voter Participation Center — a nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing the share of historically underrepresented voting groups — the drop-off among these groups between 2008 and 2010 was nearly 21 million, going from roughly 61 million to 40 million.

Moreover, in many of the states, especially those where the Obama campaign had little real presence, they are basically starting from scratch.

“The question is whether the party’s Obama-era volunteer base will replicate itself for a Mark Pryor or a Mary Landrieu or a Kay Hagan”.

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