WASHINGTON: House Majority Whip Tom Delay is taking it upon himself to get Republicans up and voting this year.
The congressman from Texas is the driving force behind a new plan to have Republican voters canvas Democratic districts in an attempt to increase his party's turnout. The GOP holds only a modest majority in the House, and Delay's plan is indicative of the small efforts that could spell the difference between retaining that hold and ceding it to the Democratic minority.
Such efforts are usually left to groups such as the Republican National Committee or the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. But Delay says STOMP, the Strategic Taskforce for the Organization and Mobilization of People, is made necessary by the extra help Democrats receive from labor unions in their voter turnout efforts.
"Over the past several elections, the Democrats and the big labor unions have done a better job than the Republicans at putting more volunteers on the ground, Delay told the Associated Builders and Contractors on June 4. "Republicans need to rediscover our lost skills of grassroots campaigning. We need to shake off the complacency, and roll up our sleeves and get to work."
According to Delay, thousands of GOP voters will leave their own districts in the weeks before this November's Congressional elections to knock on doors, make phone calls, and distribute literature in Democratically favored districts.
Kim Rubey, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, dismissed STOMP, saying, "They have the same song and dance every cycle, yet they've lost seats for the past three election cycles and they lost control of the Senate. Republicans themselves admit that they can't match Democratic grassroots outreach activities."