Oklahoma “boots on the ground” – in battleground states Ohio and Colorado
Published: November 4th, 2012
OKLAHOMA City – The 2012 presidential election will be over soon – or, at least, balloting will end.
In places like Oklahoma, where Barack Obama lost all 77 counties in 2008 and will not win more than a couple this year, polls, pundits and people in general slot the state solidly in Mitt Romney’s Electoral College column.
So, what was an energetic Republican Okie activist to do? In an interview this weekend, Stuart Jolly of Americans for Prosperity, Oklahoma chapter, told his group’s story, and sketched the adventures of around 200 activists who traveled to battleground states, hoping to make a difference.
Speaking from Cincinnati, where is guiding a couple of dozen Oklahomans working on issues advocacy, Jolly explained there are a couple of parts to his grass roots work in these final days.
“AFP has put me in position to direct ‘non-priority’ state chapters to get involved in ‘priority’ states,” Jolly said. “I’ve had several tools at my disposal, including our Freedom Phone system, which allows an activist to make calls without a computer. With a short 1-question script, she or he can make thousands of calls in a single day and identify individuals in other states who are not sure where they stand on fiscal issues.”
Information distilled from that operation of home-based volunteers then becomes the basis for “high touch” activism, face-to-face on doorsteps.
Jolly continued, “The Prosperity Knocks project, another tool at our disposal, has given citizens in ‘non-priority’ states the opportunity to travel to a targeted priority state and, with our micro-targeted list, knock on thousands of doors. These individuals were previously identified through the Freedom Phone system as not knowing how they feel about the issues facing our country.”
Here is how the data got applied through “boots on the ground.” A week ago in battleground state Colorado, Jolly said, “150 Oklahoma activists participated in both the Prosperity Knocks project and Freedom Phones and knocked on 12,200 doors and made over 9,000 calls in critical counties in Colorado Springs and around Denver.”
Derek Shores of Midwest City was on the Colorado trip, and said it was “very comforting and refreshing in linking up with citizens in a different state who share the same economic concerns as I.”
Jolly stressed the activism was not electioneering, per se, but “issue advocacy,” to wit: “These volunteers weren’t talking about the election or telling anyone how to vote. They delivered a message on why President Obama’s agenda is failing — with sustained high unemployment, wasteful spending leading to high deficits, a $16 trillion national debt, the high cost of Obama’s health care law, and other concerns. We were also recruiting new volunteers and asking citizens to get involved with AFP.”
The time in Colorado was enjoyable for many in the group – but the 26 hours of drive time and the 10-hour days going up and down hills in the rolling cities at high altitude was challenging, Jolly said. Jolly’s troops told him they were excited to be engaged in a place where they could make a difference. He reflected, “I was impressed that our activists included oil field workers, factory employees, moms, dads, students, state legislators and other elected officials that decided to come and walk, phone and work for the cause of freedom.”
From the pattern established in Colorado, Jolly took the smaller team to Ohio this weekend for, literally, the final hours in the state widely considered pivotal in Election 2012.
Commenting on all the activity and those willing to go the distance for their beliefs, Jolly said AFP sent volunteers into “battleground states,” because “that’s where the debate and battle of ideas is raging. We want to be sure that during those debates, our position on limited government and free markets is at the forefront. … AFP soldiers from Oklahoma were boots on the ground and in the trenches of Colorado and Ohio – and I believe we have made a difference.”
You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at Patrick@capitolbeatok.com and follow us on