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Some heroes of the ground war

Special to First Read from The Hotline
Here are a few Democrats who deserve mucho credit for building an impressive ground machine...

At the DCCC, they are Sean Sweeney and Adrian Saenz, political and field directors, respectively.

At the DSCC, pol. dir. Guy Cecil spent months developing GOTV programs in Montana and Missouri that effectively harnessed those states' blue waves. (Not for nothing are DSCC exec = dir J.B. Poersch and DCCC exec dir. Karin Johanson old hands at "field.") BTW: the DCCC brought in guru Michael Whouley to supervise the field programs during the last two months.

In Missouri, for example, the DSCC had 5,400 volunteers and paid staff on the streets 11/7. They targeted 250K drop-off voters and 350K swing voters outside of St. Louis and Kansas City. While the Republicans bragged about making 3 million voter contacts on the Saturday before the election, Democrats made about 3.5 million contacts.

An analysis of internal RNC and DSCC/DCCC data suggests that during the final week, the Democrats made, on average, knocked on about twice as many doors as Republicans did nationally. The two parties made roughly the same number of telephone calls.

In Montana, Cecil worked with the state Democratic party and Gov. Brian Schweitzer's aides to mobilize thousands of volunteers. The Democrats also modeled the electorate in MT and MO and made selective use of microtargeting.

The Republicans' 72 Hour Task Force is no longer impregnable, but it still performed quite well given the environment. The Republican base was motivated and the program worked to turn them out. Credit goes to the RNC's unassuming but driven political director, Mike DuHaime, as well as White House political director Sara Taylor.

Republicans managed to win 14 of 23 congressional races decided by two percentage points or less and 13 of 19 races decided by 5000 votes or less. That's a testament to the durability of the 72 Hour Program.