Grassroots activists should ignore naysayers and push hard to the finish line — just as they did with Marco Rubio’s Cinderella 2010 senate candidacy in Florida, in Gov. Scott Walker’s recall victory in Wisconsin, and in Ted Cruz’s come-from-behind triumph in the GOP senate primary in Texas.
Doing so will springboard conservatives to victory on Election Day.
That’s the message FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe delivered to conservative activists Friday night at “The Revolution Rises,” a major grassroots rally in Columbus, Ohio.
The event was billed as “a final call to action for grassroots fiscal conservatives to get out the vote and educate neighbors on what’s at stake this November.”
Conservative author and radio host Glenn Beck was the main speaker. Kibbe said the event was designed to energize the tea party faithful and redouble their get-out-the-vote efforts, just four days before the Nov. 6 election.
Prior to the rally, Beck told Newsmax: "Ohio is a critical battleground state in the election, where the future of America will be determined. Now is the time for the people of Ohio to stand together and make real change."
Joining Beck at the rally in the key swing state's capital were Kibbe and FreedomWorks Outreach Director Deneen Borelli.
According to Kibbe, FreedomWorks has poured more resources into Ohio than any other state, and he agrees with analysts who say the Buckeye State is likely to determine the outcome of the election.
“The thing I continue to be overwhelmed by is the incredible grassroots energy on the ground in Ohio,” Kibbe tells Newsmax. “Part of it is they’ve been in this fight now for three or four years.”
Kibbe tells Newsmax that tea parties’ ability to influence the outcome of this year’s election exceeds its strength in the 2010 midterms.
“It has never stopped,” says Kibbe. “The people who did the ground game from an activists’ perspective in 2010 are the people doing that work in 2012. They're more seasoned, they’re more sophisticated, their networks are bigger.”
The FreedomWorks leader is on record predicting that conservative grassroots energy will more than offset the activism of organized labor, as well as the vaunted Obama campaign turnout machine in Ohio. Democrats are counting on a “firewall strategy” of winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to surpass the vital 270-vote mark in the Electoral College, even if the campaign loses the popular vote to Romney.
FreedomWorks reports it has sent over 40 million pages of information to targeted voters on a national basis, and has completed over 4 million telephone calls to help sway the outcome.
One indication that the grassroots fervor in Ohio remains strong: Kibbe reports that the 4,500-seat venue for Friday night’s rally, the Columbus Convention Center, was sold out within 24 hours.
“This community of grassroots activists has been through the ballot initiative rejecting Obamacare, and they were certainly a huge part of taking the House in 2010,” Kibbe tells Newsmax. “Ohio is one of those states that flipped the governor’s mansion, added seats at both the state and federal level.
“That to me is one of our advantages going into 2012. You see that energy for [Ohio GOP Senate candidate] Josh Mandel. In Cincinnati four weeks ago we had 7,000 people, another sell out,” he says.
Kibbe rarely misses an opportunity to preach the virtues of decentralized activism. He says the impact of the grassroots faithful will be greater than generally assumed. He cites an “authenticity gap” working in conservatives favor “between people that are neighbors, people that do believe in the cause of fiscal responsibility, versus someone that’s paid by unions or a political party to make calls down a list. I think there’s a difference.”
The narratives of the two presidential campaigns have become rather predictable, Kibbe says. So he believes the energy of the grassroots base may well prove decisive.
He is urging activists to once again ignore prognostications from mainstream pundits, and instead to just put their heads down and do the work that in previous political donnybrooks has resulted in victory.
“It’s really going to be about energy, and a willingness for activists to believe that they can make a difference as they have so many times in the past,” Kibbe tells Newsmax. “I think we win that fight, and I think Election Day could turn out to be an incredible pick-up, both the Senate and the White House.”
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