The Pennsylvania GOP is attempting to determine what exactly went wrong in 2022.
Republicans are conducting a postmortem in the crucial battleground state after the party’s disastrous midterm elections. They are holding focus groups there and speaking with thousands of voters about everything from abortion to former President Donald Trump in an effort to understand why they lost. The state party has hired Public Opinion Strategies, a company with offices in the Washington, D.C., area, to perform the analysis of the 2022 race as a demonstration of the seriousness of the attempt. Republicans claimed that it would cost $100,000.
Republican officials in Pennsylvania are also in the process of launching initiatives aimed at encouraging more of their supporters to cast ballots by mail — a practise many of them had previously criticised, challenged in court, and attempted to repeal legislatively — and mending intraparty divisions across the state’s diverse regions.
In an email to supporters about the postmortem that HEADLINESFOREVER was able to get, state Republican Party chair Lawrence Tabas promised that “every facet of the 2022 race will be scrutinised.” Its money, he continued, would contribute to “clear messaging on what we, as Republicans, stand for.”
The multifaceted initiatives are the most thorough effort within the party to map a path back to success in Pennsylvania ahead of the 2024 presidential election, and they are being planned by top GOP funders, leaders, and elected officials in the state. Last year, Republicans in the state lost the governor’s election, the race for the Senate, and the majority of the state House seats. They also failed to flip any congressional districts.
“We didn’t perform at all well. Biden has had a lot of failures in this situation. Gas prices, rising interest rates, pressure on small firms, extremely high inflation (greater than it has been in 40 years), and ongoing global issues. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), who is helping to finance the postmortem, stated that there has been no red wave. “We seek the truth as it is in God.”
It’s one thing to learn the truth. The second is to accept it. And whether the state GOP can assist the party in retaking the White House in 2024 will likely be greatly influenced by its capacity to do just that. The most electoral votes in the presidential election are at stake in Pennsylvania, making it a key swing state.
With incumbent Democrat Bob Casey due for re-election in 2024 and judges up for election in the state this year, Pennsylvania will also play a significant role in the next struggle for control of the Senate.
The concept for the postmortem was hatched during conversations with other local Republicans following the election, according to Bob Asher, a prominent Republican contributor in Pennsylvania who is also contributing to the postmortem’s funding. He claimed that what he heard had struck him. Some officials informed him that under-the-radar campaigns, such Democratic mailers to older voters warning them that Republicans would cut Social Security and Medicare, had a significant impact on the election.
I’m thinking, “I don’t think we have the right crap,” to myself. We don’t have the right story, in my opinion,” he declared. “I want to know the facts about Pennsylvania’s problems and how we can prepare to run for the Supreme Court in ’23.”
The postmortem’s main objective, according to Asher, is to determine how to win back suburban areas in the state that have been trending against Republicans in previous years, particularly Philadelphia’s vote-rich collar counties.
The research has significant implications for both the state party and the approaching elections. Following the GOP’s underwhelming performance in the 2022 cycle, rumours of potential challengers to Tabas, whose term expires in 2025, began to circulate. As of yet, no one has declared a bid.
This cycle, a key Pennsylvania Republican campaign aide who asked to remain anonymous said, “The county parties and state party have become more of a social club with incredibly well-intentioned folks rather than operations that assist elect Republicans.” They need to start talking to friends and neighbours again about the candidates and encouraging them to register and vote.
In a statement, Tabas said, “Going forward, I’m encouraging our leaders to unite on the aim of changing what has been a mail-in ballot deficit into a winning advantage.” Last year, we carried out record registration drives and very extensive GOTV activities.
Along with Asher and Meuser, the initiative is being funded in part by Rep. Lloyd Smucker and state Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward.
Republicans vow that they will bring up difficult issues during the postmortem. Meuser stated that in addition to factors like immigration and inflation, the effects of Trump and the “Stop the Steal” movement on the midterm elections “had to” be examined. Republicans said that their analysis doesn’t avoid looking at how Roe v. Wade’s repeal affected the election. Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, made his Republican opponent Doug Mastriano’s support for an abortion ban without exceptions for rape, incest, or the mother’s life a focal point of his campaign. A majority of Pennsylvania voters ranked abortion as their #1 concern in exit polls.
In particular Republicans — no, let’s just say Republican pundits — “clearly that issue played more of a role than most political analysts,” said Meuser. What is the best way to say that without offending anyone? he continued. There is, in my opinion, unquestionably a feasible way for me to uphold my pro-life stance without offending others.
In the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, Pennsylvania Republicans are also launching other initiatives, such as developing a vote-by-mail campaign.
Many Republicans in the state and the country came to the conclusion following the elections of last year that their recent campaign against mail voting had cost them. A task committee to study mail-in ballots has been established by the state GOP. Rep. G.T. Thompson, Stacy Garrity, Timothy DeFoor, and Bryan Cutler, the state House Republican leader, are among those who have joined the task committee, according to an internal email.
The majority of Republicans now understand that if one party votes for 50 days and the other votes for 13 hours, the party voting for 50 days will have a greater turnout, according to Andy Reilly, a Pennsylvania Republican National Committee member who has also been appointed to the task group. We must accept it and persuade Republican voters that the mail-in voting process is fair and that their vote will be counted.
That’s possibly the takeaway from 2022 that the majority of Pennsylvania Republicans can now agree on.
What I can say with certainty is that we place a high focus on mail-in ballots and voting by mail, according to Tabas.