Trump midterm strategy: Rallies attracting new GOP voters, energizing base for endorsed candidates
EXCLUSIVE: Former President Trump’s plan for securing GOP control of Congress centers on rallies that energize the party’s base and attract new attendees who traditionally have not turned out to vote during midterm election cycles—a strategy Trump allies say will fuel “massive victories” for Republicans.
A Trump team official told Fox News that more than half of the people who registered to attend Trump’s five most recent rallies in September and October were “first-time attendees.”
“President Trump has built a massive database of those people who have registered to attend a rally since 2015,” the official said. “However, when looking at the five most recent rallies, more than half of those registering are first-time attendees—they are people who have never attended a Trump rally before.”
According to Team Trump data, 54% of attendees of Trump’s rallies in Michigan and North Carolina earlier this month had never been to a rally before. 61% of attendees at his Ohio rally were new attendees, 56% of attendees in Nevada were new; and 55% of attendees at his Arizona rally had never been to a rally before.
“This means the president’s rallies are not only energizing his base, but also introducing new voters to his endorsed candidates in the critical days before the midterm elections,” the official said. “This is the kind of energy that fuels massive victories.”
The official told Fox News that when the Trump team matched rally registrants to their state’s voter file, they have found that, on average, 38% of registered voters did not vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
“These are people who are less likely to vote in 2022, if it wasn’t for President Trump, his endorsement, and his encouragement of attendees to vote in 2022,” the official said. “Through his rallies, President Trump is speaking directly to voters who can swing close elections during off cycles.”
Trump’s rally in Arizona was in support of Senate candidate Blake Masters, gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, and candidate for state attorney general, Abe Hamadeh.
“President Trump brings energy and excitement wherever he goes. Joe Biden can’t even fill a high school gym,” Masters told Fox News. “Arizonans see the difference, the different results–that’s why they’ll be going to the polls to vote America First on November 8.”
During his Nevada rally, he made a push for Adam Laxalt for Senate and gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo.
Laxalt told Fox News that Trump’s rallies “help us with building out our army of grassroots volunteers, and they always bring a lot of excitement on the ground for our campaign to take back the U.S. Senate.”
In Michigan, Trump rallied for gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon and candidate for attorney general Matthew DePerno.
In Ohio, Trump rallied for Senate candidate JD Vance and congressional candidate Max Miller; and rallied for Senate candidate Ted Budd in North Carolina.
“The thing that Trump rallies provide that no other outside political organization can provide is massive amounts of local earned media,” Republican strategist Andy Surabian told Fox News.
“In a lot of ways, that local earned media provided by Trump rallies are more important than paid television advertisements.
“One of the things we learned from looking at the data of the 2018 midterms is that there are a whole lot of voters—a whole lot of Republican voters—who don’t turn out unless Trump is on the ticket,” Surabian said.
He added: “So when he is holding rallies for these candidates, he is drawing out people who may not typically vote and giving them a reason to turn out on election day.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s Save America PAC raised $24.7 million in the third quarter—its highest raised quarter of the year—and is using its massive war chest to fund rallies and purchase ads in support of GOP candidates across the nation ahead of the critical midterm elections.
Save America PAC raised a total of $24.7 million during the third quarter— a 38% increase from the second quarter. A source familiar with the fundraising told Fox News that 98.8% of those donations totaled less than $200 each.
Trump raised $10.2 million in August after the FBI’s unprecedented raid on his private residence at Mar-a-Lago—the most Save America PAC had raised in a month since Trump was in office.
At this point, Trump’s Save America PAC had $99.66 million cash-on-hand.
Trump’s Make America Great Again Inc. super PAC has also spent $8 million on ads in the last two weeks—specifically in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Ohio.
“President Trump’s MAGA Inc. ads hit hard and are coming at exactly the right time,” a GOP official told Fox News.
The ads target hotly contested Senate races in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where GOP-held open seats are being heavily targeted by the Democrats in November’s midterm elections.
The spending by the pro-Trump super PAC in Arizona and Nevada, as well as in Ohio and Pennsylvania, appears to be the first wave in what’s expected to be millions of dollars in expenditures by the group backing Trump-endorsed candidates running in crucial Senate and gubernatorial contests across the country.
The Senate races in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are among a handful that will likely determine if the Republicans win back the chamber’s majority in November.
But some Republicans say Trump could and should be doing more with his massive war chest to ensure the GOP takes back the majority in Congress.
“President Trump’s political effectiveness is an essential part of our party’s chances in 2022, but it would be even more helpful if he would blanket the airwaves with ads across the country to help Republicans get over the finish line,” a Republican strategist told Fox News.
Another GOP strategist involved in Senate races told Fox News that there is a “pervasive sense of frustration that Trump could do a lot more this cycle, and he is not.”
“He could be a difference maker if he wants to,” the strategist said, noting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “spends more than what Trump is spending in a single week on Senate races.”
“Generally on the spending side, the expectation was he may not do anything at all, so certainly, the small amount he is doing is welcome, but to attribute a vast amount of credit I think would be a mistake,” the strategist said, adding though that it is Trump’s “right,” and acknowledging that “he is not on the ballot.”
“I’m not sure he thinks about it this way, but he stands to lose a lot if his endorsees don’t win,” the strategist said. “He chose to endorse this slate of candidates and the entire party apparatus has come around them and is firing on all cylinders to make sure they win, but he will take a reputational hit if they don’t get across the finish line.”
But, another GOP insider told Fox News that Republicans are satisfied with Trump’s role, saying that they have campaigned on his name, his message and have benefited from his endorsement.
“It is cheap to compare what Save America PAC and Trump’s super PAC does to other super PACs that are specifically set up to retake the House majority or the Senate majority,” the insider said. “Trump’s groups are not set up primarily for those reasons. They are not the same thing.”
The vast majority of candidates Trump has backed in competitive Republican primaries won their nomination races this cycle.
And head of MAGA Inc., Taylor Budowich, told Fox News that President Trump “has an endorsement record of over 98% this cycle.”
“Because of his support, Republicans up and down the ballot are going to be swept into office at a historic rate,” he said.