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2018 Midterms

Keene tells KBLU: Bannon is right, campaigns must knock on doors, not rely on TV ads



The editor of The Washington Times editorial page told Yuma’s KBLU listeners Oct. 18 that the days are over when political campaigns can just raise a ton of money and spend it on TV ads and expect to win.

“It was an arms race on television,” said David Keene, a long-time conservative operative, who was the president of the National Rifle Association from 2011 to 2013–and turned back the hysteria to restrict gun rights after the spree shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

KBLU host George Braun had asked Keene if he agreed with Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon’s assessment at the Value Voters Summit that politics had become analog, meaning person-to-person contact beat 30-second TV ads.

“Party professionals and candidates began to realize money, while necessary, isn’t everything,” Keene said.

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“In today’s world contacting voters, contacting your peers, asking your neighbor to vote became far, far more important than it has been, since the 1960s,” he said.

Keene told Braun that in the 2016 campaign cycle the GOP recognized this shift and under the leadership of Reince Priebus built a strong ground game.

“Priebus finally figured out what a number of national party chairman had not been able to figure out–that in this modern world, there are some things a party can do and some things a party cannot do,” he said.

This ground game and field organization was handed to the Trump campaign, which is why so many of Donald J. Trump’s fundraisers were to support the Republican National Committee, he said.

Braun told Keene that he observed in Florida was that in the last weeks of the campaign, once Sen. Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) recognized that he was going to win, he handed over his campaign organization to the Trump campaign.

Keene said in addition to the right ground game, you need the right message.

President Barack Obama built magnificent ground game and communications machine, which he handed over to Hillary R. Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

“You have to have the right message,” he said. “Her message was so bad that it didn’t matter that she was reaching the voters, because they didn’t like what she was saying.”

Check out the whole interview here:

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