Republicans strike back at ActBlue, launch ‘WinRed’

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 22, 2019, before boarding Marine One for the trip to Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

On Monday, Republicans launched their own version of ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising platform. Striking back at Democrats who raised roughly $175 million in the first quarter, the GOP hopes to capitalize on the popularity of grassroots fundraising. While Democrats have seen a lot of success with small-dollar donors, it hasn’t translated broadly across the aisle.

Republicans still heavily rely on large-dollar donations from the wealthy who give generously to super-PACS like the Congressional and Senate Leadership Funds. President Donald Trump has been one of the few candidates to have bucked this trend. The president has been campaigning since the day after his 2016 election, and by the end of March, is headed into the 2020 elections with just under $41 million cash on hand, according to his campaign’s filings with the election commission. He raised $30 million in the first quarter alone.

According to a statement from WinRed, Trump’s campaign and national party committees have started to migrate their online fundraising operations to WinRed.

“The Trump campaign will be the most innovative presidential campaign in American history, and WinRed is a critical component of our strategy,” Brad Parscale, campaign manager for the Trump campaign, said in a statement.

“Trump supporters are the most enthusiastic in American politics, and with WinRed, we will have the cutting-edge technology needed to translate grassroots enthusiasm into the resources we need to win in 2020.”

Going for grassroots support

The Trump campaign won’t be alone on the WinRed platform. It is joined by the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

“Working together with GOP candidates up and down the ballot, WinRed represents a game-changer for turning grassroots enthusiasm into online fundraising and then into votes. It is therefore a key component to a winning strategy for 2020 and elections to come,” WinRed said in a release.

But it is still unclear if Republicans will be able to replicate the same success with grassroots fundraising as Trump and the Democrats. Until the launch of WinRed, Republicans didn’t have one central location to donate to multiple candidates and campaigns. That became clear during the 2018 midterm elections, when ActBlue helped fuel unprecedented spending for Democrats.

“WinRed is building infrastructure to unify and modernize Republican fundraising for years to come,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “WinRed will help Republicans up and down the ballot to more creatively and efficiently raise campaign dollars online, direct resources where they are needed most, and most importantly win elections in 2020 and beyond.”

If Democrats are worried about Republicans launching WinRed, they didn’t show it Monday. In a tweet, ActBlue responded to WinRed’s launch.

“Trump & the GOP have decided they want in on the power of the grassroots,” the group wrote. “But you can’t manufacture the people power that small-dollar donors on the left have built over the last 15 years. We’re excited to help them continue to make change in 2019 & 2020.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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