In what can only be described as a strategic blunder, the Republican Party of Texas’ communications plan for the 2020 elections was inadvertently leaked on Monday to Texas Democrats when “a staffer shared it with the wrong email address,” outlining the party’s targeting and strategy to the opposition party just less than a year away from the election.
In the document, 12 districts currently held by Democrat members are targeted as potential pickups for the party in the next election.
The strategies listed focus heavily on digital marketing, such as creating microsites to target individual members and an initiative called the “Diverse Texas Republicans Project” intended to “highlight the diversity within the Republican Party through social media to counter the narrative driven by the Democrats.”
While it is hardly newsworthy that the Republican Party will try to take back the legislative seats it lost in 2018, what the document says about President Donald Trump and the end of straight-ticket voting has garnered some attention.
In a section on getting out the vote of “Never Trumpers,” the author writes, “Given the polarizing nature of the President, I suspect some Republicans will refuse to turnout during the General Election because they don’t want to vote for him.”
Additionally, the document acknowledges fears by many in the Republican Party about the end of straight-ticket voting in 2020.
“One of the biggest challenges ahead of the 2020 election cycle will be the drop-off for down-ballot races as a result of the end of straight-ticket voting,” the document states, along with possible tagline suggestions for a campaign to encourage voting down ballot, including “Vote Right All the Way Down!”, “Vote Right to the Bottom!”, and “Vote RIGHT Down the Ballot!”
The acknowledgement of the potential challenges for Republicans brought about by the end of straight-ticket voting is somewhat ironic, given the fact that it was Republican legislators, by and large, who led the effort to end the practice in 2017 against Democrat opposition.
“Republicans have already fumbled the ball and we aren’t even in 2020 yet,” said Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party.
On Monday night, RPT Chairman James Dickey acknowledged the leak, telling media “it should not be news” that Republicans are aiming to take back seats in the Texas legislature and downplayed the document as “some initial thoughts for discussion.”
“We at the Republican Party of Texas are working on winning races all across Texas and growing support among both Republicans and swing voters,” said Dickey.
The Republican Party of Texas declined to identify the author of the strategy document to Texas Scorecard, but confirmed it was a “staffer.”
Lt. Col. Allen West, who is currently campaigning against Dickey for the position of RPT chairman, told Texas Scorecard, “Having served in the military for 22 years, operational security is always one of our pre-eminent points and one that we have to work on in the Republican Party of Texas.”
Earlier in the day, the Texas GOP’s official Twitter account posted pictures of strategy meetings taking place, moments before the document was leaked.
The RPT is meeting today to discuss what it looks like to #keepTexasred in 2020! #leadright pic.twitter.com/FSHnj6O3SE
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) November 25, 2019