LA Times: Americans for Prosperity keeps pressing through election day
RICHMOND, Va. — Inside a low-slung brick building off a busy commercial corridor, a half-dozen volunteers with the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity were juggling cell phones Tuesday morning as they made one final push to get voters to the polls.
“I know you’ve probably gotten a million calls, but I’m just calling one more time because this election is so critical,” said Scott Jackson, a 30-year-old bartender, sitting below a bulletin board festooned with signs that declared “CUT SPENDING” and “Socialism Isn’t Cool.”
AFP has been one of the biggest independent spenders of the 2012 elections, pouring $75 million into media ads this year lamenting the direction of the country under President Obama and other Democrats. Less evident has been the tens of millions of dollars it has pumped into field organizing — an effort that president Tim Phillips said has helped conservatives match the ground game of the left this time.
“I think that the conservative turnout and the conservative base vote will be the largest in a generation,” he said. “The intensity is there.”
When it came to the ground game, “the left had a monopoly for decades,” Phillips added. “We are matching them because we have the infrastructure – the offices and the staff – and the technology and the money.”
As a 501(c)4 “social welfare organization,” AFP does not have to report its donors or its field work to the Federal Election Commission, but the billionaire Koch brothers have acknowledged that they have been long-time backers of its efforts.
n Virginia, where the group is headquartered, several hundred volunteers began calling voters Friday to remind them to vote, with the aim of reaching 200,000 by the end of the day Tuesday, said state director Audrey Jackson. The effort is nonpartisan – volunteers do not bring up any issues or urge voters to support any candidate.
The GOTV program follows a more extensive “education” effort in which AFP staff and volunteers knocked on 20,000 doors and made 1 million calls to centrist voters in Virginia to press the group’s message about how the Obama administration has failed to rein in the country’s debt or create a robust energy policy.