Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

NRSC to GOP Consultants: Got Any Better Ideas?

Want a lucrative consulting contract from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or one of their top candidates this cycle? First, a few questions.

After tensions between GOP officials and consultants bubbled over in 2012, top NRSC aides are in the process of revamping their relationship with the hired hands who might work with their spending arm and candidates this cycle.

On Tuesday, NRSC Political Director Ward Baker sent the following memo to more than 250 GOP consultants and vendors:

TO: Prospective Vendors

FROM: Ward Baker

DATE: April 2, 2013

RE: NRSC IE Program Revitalization

Victory in 2014

The NRSC is full steam ahead prepping and planning for victory in 2014 to take back the majority in the U.S. Senate. Part of that preparation is revitalizing and reimagining the IE program to ensure wins in crucial battleground states. We believe this can be accomplished through new ideas and innovative strategies from not only the new leadership at the NRSC, but from you as well.

What Would You Do Differently? 

As we look to build our IE program for the 2014 cycle, we want to hear from you as key strategists and prospective vendors on how you would improve the IE program. We are asking for a maximum of 1,000 words by May 1st. When appropriate in the process, we will also provide you with our detailed Firewall Policy to ensure that we are fully compliant in the current regulatory environment. Our call for suggestions is not mandatory, but simply a request. You can send your thoughts and suggestions to XXXXXXXX .

We appreciate your help and look forward to hearing from you soon.


Ward Baker

Political Director

Last cycle, Senate GOP campaign aides clashed with consultants who they believed produced sub-par advertisements for some of their candidates. In a particular race, operatives griped about a candidate’s consultant taking more than five days to react to an opponent’s negative TV ad. By then, the political damage was done.

To be sure, the teeming tensions between consultants and party officials, who dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in work to them each cycle, reverberated throughout the GOP in the wake of the 2012 elections. Last month, a panel at an annual Conservative Political Action Conference asked, “Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?”

(See also in Roll Call: Coverage and photos from CPAC)

Still, Senate Republican operatives bore the brunt of that criticism after a net loss of two seats last cycle, when the map was decidedly in their favor. In 2014, Senate Republicans have an even more promising map, with several pick-up opportunities in traditionally conservative states including Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas.

So far, the NRSC’s pre-emptive outreach to the consultant community has been productive, according to a few of the memo’s recipients. One consultant commented that this process “forces vendors to get engaged,” instead of just complaining about it later in the cycle.

“It’s a good first step for the committee toward analyzing ways to improve its IE process,” said another consultant who received the email.

  • Jackson Euler

    Here’s an easy Answer that will save you ALOT of time and money: Stop being so hateful in your politics and your policies and recruit candidates who don’t live in MULTIPLE mansions and can speak to the average American.
    (and with 961 words to spare – I know how Republicans like savings) 😉

  • Michele Davis

    Hey, dummies- how hard is it to follow the template described by Ronald Reagan and other Constitutional conservatives?

    – Slash government spending and balance the budget

    – Secure the border

    – Strengthen national defense

    – Address failing entitlements

    – Eradicate Obamacare

    – Implement the Fair Tax or a flat tax

    FIght! Fight, dammit, fight! Why is it that Mark Levin has 8 million listeners a week and the NRSC counts itself lucky to get 100 donations a month?

    Fight the progressive left! Fight Communism! Crush these bastards with a simple and clear message of Americanism, self-reliance and prosperity!

    Fight for school choice! Fight the unions! Fight them on every front and stop pandering to different ethnic groups and with computers. Fight them with liberty!

    Fight them with opportunity! Fight them with private property rights!

    We conservatives have the ONLY antidote to tyranny known to man. We have the only antidote to the failing welfare state that is the modern Democrat Party.

    We have the Constitution and the Declaration! They have nothing but promises and platitudes and failed policies.

    We must return to Constitutional government to save this Republic!

  • Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

    BOTH political parties are missing a huge voter pool — Americans with disabilities. They are 20% of our population — 50 million Americans. Additionaly, 51% of likely voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. Yet in the 2012 Presidential NEITHER candidate gave a speach on the topics that community cares about and Romney didn’t even have so much as an issue paper on their website.

    Where have Republicans been on the top issue for people with disabilities…the fact that 70% of us don’t have jobs (btw, I am one of the lucky ones who does work). People with disabilities want a hand up, not continued hand outs when we can work. YES, we need a safety net for some of us, but most want access to the American dream…the chance to work and be independent.

    President Ronald Reagan worked to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Under his administration, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was founded. President George H.W. Bush signed it into law. This act enabled millions of Americans with disabilities to have a hand up, not a hand out, as they were able to go into schools, civic institutions, and the workforce to create a better future for themselves and their families.

    Yet despite these proud traditions, CPAC speakers recently and the RNC chair spent an extraordinary amount of time discussing reaching out to Hispanics and African Americans, yet only Jeb Bush even mentioned people with disabilities. According to the U.S. Census, 1/5th of Americans have a disability.

    According to a poll of 1000 likely voters conducted by my firm, Laszlo Strategies, fully 51 percent report having a family member or close friend with a disability. Fifty-two percent of Democrats report that they or a loved one have a disability, and for Republicans a smaller number of 44 percent report they have a disability. Surprisingly, independents have the largest number of voters who say they have a disability, with 58 percent saying yes. This shows that swing voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs.

    Many Republicans can speak with legitimacy to Americans with disabilities. Sen. Mark Kirk, Sen. John McCain, and former Senator Bob Dole have disabilities. Rep. Pete Sessions, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Gregg Harper, former Governor Sarah Palin, and former Sen. Rick Santorum have children with disabilities.

    There are a huge number of issues that impact people with disabilities which resonate with Republican primary voters but aren’t even on their radar screens. For example, approximately 90% of American women who find out they are carrying a child with Down syndrome choose to abort. People with disabilities can fall victim to others (including family members and supposed “care takers”) who push them into “assisted suicide”/euthanasia. At times, people with disabilities are denied access to needed organ transplants because their lives are judged less worthy than those of people without disabilities. These “pro-life” issues matter to conservative activists and many disability activists alike.

    People with disabilities are more likely to be victims of crime. Thus, many voters with disabilities share a “tough on crime” perspective. Yet, because it was reported that the shooter in Newtown had Asperger’s, many voters with disabilities and their families are concerned about being profiled in such a way that their gun rights can be denied. They risk being judged as a discriminated class, not as individuals.

    Educational rights and opportunities are critical to people with disabilities. Many parents of children with disabilities, who often face large medical and other costs, want vouchers so that they can afford for their children to attend private schools with additional support for children with disabilities.

    As for all Americans, the number one issue in the disability community is jobs. During President Obama’s first term in office, unemployment for Americans with disabilities skyrocketed. The number of people collecting federal disability insurance has increased by 1,385,418 to a record 8,827,795, meaning a larger strain on the federal coffers and more people with disabilities living in poverty.

    In short, people with disabilities are looking for new answers and policies.

    The finger-pointing that the Obama administration is doing regarding the Ryan budget does nothing to answer the recent report by the Government Accountability Office that the federal government has literally dozens of programs to help people with disabilities get jobs that don’t measure their outcomes or performance metrics, and do not coordinate, collaborate, or use proven practices. We need government that works better and costs less.

    The majority of working-age voters with disabilities want to work and be independent. Thankfully, a talented bipartisan group of elected officials is now really focusing on these issues. In the House of Representatives, two talented Republicans, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Gregg Harper, both of whom have children with disabilities, are considering solutions through the prism of fiscal conservatism. They have introduced the Transitioning Toward Excellence in Achievement and Mobility (TEAM) Act of 2013 (H.R. 509, 510 and 511), which promotes the advancement of Americans with significant disabilities transitioning from youth to adulthood.

    Each of the three bills, the TEAM-Employment Act, TEAM-Education Act, and TEAM-Empowerment Act, would strengthen accountability, clarify expectations, expand flexibility, and align systems to ensure that publicly funded assistance is effectively utilized to support one uniform goal: ensuring that every youth with a significant disability has the opportunity, encouragement, and support to become gainfully employed in an integrated setting, pursue a post-secondary education, and engage in meaningful ways in typical community settings once they leave high school.

    At the state level, Gov. Jack Markell, chair of the National Governors Association, has made solving these challenges into his chair’s initiative. He is being joined by Republican governors such as Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, whose parents were deaf. Their exciting work, “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities,” focuses on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities. They are starting to bring together public-sector, private-sector, and non-profit leaders to come up with creative and bipartisan solutions that can enable people with disabilities to go from being dependent to independent.

    Today millions of Americans with disabilities who are educated, capable, and willing to work are relegated to a life of miserable payments from the federal treasuries, whose coffers are already bare. Instead, they really need transitional support and an employer willing to see their abilities, and not just their disabilities. As has been shown by Walgreens, Specialisterne, and other companies that have hired people with disabilities, these employees can be exceptionally reliable, talented, and profitable workers.

    Faith-based solutions are also critical, as religious congregations can help facilitate opportunities for high school students with disabilities to get unpaid internships. These opportunities can give them life skills that can help enable them to get paying jobs later. Individuals who are willing to volunteer can also be “job coaches” and big brothers/sisters to Americans with disabilities who want to work.

    America can’t afford financially or morally to pay people to stay home when support to accommodate their special needs can enable them to work and be independent. There is a long way to go to solve these challenges, and it cannot be done by the government alone. But enabling Americans — including those with disabilities — to achieve the American dream is a goal worth fighting for.

  • CJR

    Want advice?
    Tone down the crazy.
    Stop insulting people.

  • PasoFinoCA

    If the GOP Executives have to ask this question in this way…and put this RFP out in this manner, they are the ones who should be fired. The creative leadership and strategic thinking should come from the Executives of the GOP, and consultants should be hired to execute. Not only that, they are asking the same old Tom, Dick and Harry for the proposals! Ridiculous and backward. It is no wonder the GOP is lost in the swamp.

  • bananafanafo

    LEARN 2 FIGHT BACK! Ur appeasement is getting no where!

  • creeper

    Let’s hope some of the responses have a solution to the problem of election fraud.

  • floridawasp

    Dont worry abt quality of the product just pump up the ad men to sell harder.

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