DENVER — Last fall, Colorado Republicans bragged about all the phone calls volunteers were making on behalf of Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates and seemed certain that their revamped operation was going to lead to victory.
Now, two months after another stinging defeat, Colorado Republicans are adopting the very approach behind the successful Democratic machine — the idea that the campaign never really ends.
On Friday, the Colorado Republican Party announced that its party committee is launching a year-round regional field program.
“Over the next two years, Colorado Republicans will direct full-time regional staff and resources toward meaningful outreach and engagement in communities throughout Colorado,” said state GOP Chairman Ryan Call.
“We learn new lessons every election cycle, and it is clear that a concerted, year-round effort is needed to connect with our neighbors, persuade the undecided, and build support for Republican ideas and Republican candidates.”
According to the GOP’s announcement, he regional field program will focus on voter registration, coalition building, minority outreach, and other grassroots initiatives.
A critical element of the program is its emphasis on volunteer recruitment, training and organization at the local level, and close and effective coordination with local Republican leaders.
“Colorado Republicans will spend the next 18 months wholly focused on preparing for the 2014 elections,” said Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, who has helped spearhead this project.
“This is an effort that is going to take resources and time, but the foundation we begin to lay today will pay dividends for future Colorado Republicans and ultimately lead to a brighter future for the state.”
Beyond field operations, Colorado Republicans have just a few months to determine which candidates will challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall, who face reelection in 2014.
Additionally, the state GOP will have its hands full defending Rep. Mike Coffman’s 6th Congressional District seat.
Coffman, who narrowly won reelection in 2012, now has an increasingly long line of eager Democratic challengers ready to take him on: Andrew Romanoff, Karen Middleton and Linda Newell having all indicated some interest in a run.
In response, Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio said that even an improved organization won’t be enough to sell GOP candidates who are out of the mainstream.
“As Republicans knock on doors across the state, they’ll hear that their leaders are pushing an agenda that is badly out of tune with the needs and priorities of most Coloradans,” Palacio said in a statement.
“Until they prioritize the future of middle class families, no Washington-sponsored program will make much difference.”