GOP Forms Opposition Research Group in Response to Democrats

Monday, 10 Feb 2014 09:27 AM

By Courtney Coren

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A Republican group devoted to opposition research is expanding in response to a Democratic group that proved to be successful against GOP candidates in 2012.

In 2012, the Democratic group, American Bridge, helped defeat Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin who was running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill after picking up on a comment he made about what happens to women's bodies during "legitimate rape."

The comment was made during an interview on a local television station and would have likely gone unnoticed had it not been for American Bridge, which had a "tracker" assigned to comb through every comment the GOP Senate candidate made.

There was no such Republican group in 2012. Now one is gearing up for the midterm elections, the Los Angeles Times reports

American Rising has some catching up to do with American Bridge, which currently employs 40 full-time trackers and 25 researchers in 37 states, whose only job is to collect everything said by Republican candidates it is targeting in the upcoming midterm elections.

The Republican group, which formed in March 2013, has 11 full-time trackers and 23 part-time trackers in 20 states, as well as 22 staffers employed at its headquarters, with the goal of collecting every bit of information it can on vulnerable Democratic candidates. It also has plans to expand to 10 more states.

The group was founded by Mitt Romney's former campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, Republican operative Joe Pounder and Tim Miller, former deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee.

"The midterms are rife with Democrats who are vulnerable to an aggressive research campaign," Miller said.

But the group is looking beyond 2014 and at potential Democratic presidential candidates to "start defining the Democrat front-runner early and relentlessly."

Toward that goal, America Rising has created a "Hillary team" that is building a database of videos, sound bites and photos that could be used against the former secretary of state if she decides to run for president.

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