American Bridge 21st Century — an organization that recorded embarrassing moments by Republican candidates on the 2012 campaign trail — is expanding in order to capture more embarrassing or untoward moments leading up to the 2014 midterm election that could destroy the candidacies of GOP contenders.
According to Politico,
American Bridge 21st Century raised about $3 million during the first six months of this year and plans to spend up to $18 million during the 2014 election. The group is doubling its staff to 90, which will include 22 opposition researchers and some 50 so-called camera-wielding trackers to keep tabs on Republican candidates in competitive races.
The goal? To create a system that captures every moment of a Republican candidate's campaign appearances. American Bridge already has trackers in place in nine congressional districts and plans to be in at least 20 competitive House districts and some gubernatorial races.
In addition, the group is compiling files on seven or eight potential Republican presidential candidates.
"The first two years was about building a model that could be trusted, be credible," Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge, told Politico. "I think these next two years, it's about taking the things that we did in 2011 and 2012, improving on them, getting better and then seeing if we can expand our horizons."
For their part, Republicans have set up their own organization, America Rising, but most observers agree the Democratic-affiliated American Bridge had a head start when it comes to infrastructure and personnel.
Nonetheless, America Rising also seeks to build a trove of political opposition research information and it has substantial backing from the GOP establishment.
The group deployed a tracker to monitor Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey in the special election last month. It has started assigning trackers to follow congressional candidates visiting Washington, according to Politico.
"We see Democrats in 2014 and beyond being particularly susceptible to an emboldened Democrat base pushing the party left, creating friction between the national message and what voters care about, particularly in red and purple states," Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising, told Politico.
"America Rising's objective is to always be tracking their words and actions to ensure they are held accountable."
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