January 12, 2020

Legendary Texas Strategist Suggests that Democrats
are Registering Republicans to Vote in Lone Star State

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Veteran Texas consultant Karl Rove says he knew that the Republicans had a major advantage in an unprecedented ground war in the Lone Star State when the Democrats targeted the U.S. Senator John Cornyn's campaign receptionist in their crusade to register new voters for the most critical election here in modern times.

Rove's perceptions of GOP superiority in the voter enlistment competition were confirmed when the firm that's spearheading the Democrats' efforts tried to sign up the parents of a staff member for the Texas Republican Party's Volunteer Engagement Project that the legendary strategist has been heading for the past six months. The Rove associate's mom and dad had moved to Texas after the election here in 2018.

Rove - a major architect of the Republicans' rise to power in Texas as the Bush family's top operative - suggested on Friday in a memo to the VEP board that the Democrats had been targeting prospective new voters on both sides of the aisle with an app that focuses on geographic location and demographics without regard for partisan voting history.

While the line between spin and reality is often indiscernable in the campaign adviser world, Rove's attempts to portray the Democrats' voter enrollment initiative as inherently flawed gives the impression that the future of politics could be determined by the eventual winner of a battle between the minority party's Register2Vote operation and the GOP project that he's directing.

"Bottom line: we are in a registration war with Democrats as well as a GOTV war," Rove declared in the email that touted VEP and shamed Register2Vote simultaneously. The VEP registration process is more targeted and accurate than Register2Vote’s and costs are comparable when all of each group’s expenditures are taken into account."

With Rove as the board chairman, the GOP's voter enrollment operation got off the ground last summer as a brainchild of the longtime consultant, Texas Republican Chairman James Dickey and former state party leader Steve Munisteri.

Munisteri and Rove have been major forces in Cornyn's bid for a new term in a state that Democrats have a very realistic shot at flipping in November with President Donald Trump leading the GOP ticket as a major down-ballot drag for the Republicans in the last two election cycles. The Democrats also have a chance to reclaim a Texas House majority for the first time in almost two decades with a net gain of eight or nine seats in the 2020 general election.

Democrats at the national level will be pouring record amounts of money into Texas this year with a half-dozen congressional races as prime targets two years after victories in U.S. House districts that a pair of longtime Republican incumbents tried and failed to defend here in 2018.

But the Republicans expect to keep pace in the campaign dollar chase in Texas after a major wakeup call in the last cycle when the Democrats also picked up a dozen state House seats on a ticket that featured Beto O'Rourke at the top in a bid for the seat that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz won again by less than 3 percentage points.

The strategist who served as a senior advisor in the George W. Bush White House accuses the Democrats' Register2Vote of low-balling its costs and dramatically inflating the number of unregistered voters here. Rove said that the Democratic operation contends that the state has eight million people who are legally eligible to vote but haven't registered to do so when the number is actually less than three million.

But Rove doesn't elaborate on the threat that Trump poses to the GOP in Texas in the voter registration memorandum that does not mention the president who's been impeached by the U.S. House that Democrats control amid allegations that he broke the law with a blatant abuse of power in behind-the-scene dealings with Ukraine that have been exposed.

"The VEP has made over 900,000 contacts to roughly 400,000 unique unregistered Republicans of which 23,000 have committed to register with over half already been confirmed to have been since added to the rolls," Rove said of the GOP's push to sign new voters up in Texas. "We’re making steady process."


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