I just got back from Americans For Propserity’s Defending The Dream summit in Columbus, Ohio. I was fortunate enough to take a bus up with AFP Louisiana.
On that bus were numerous conservative activists from across south Louisiana. Most of these people were active in their local Republican clubs or other conservative organizations. Few had been involved with AFP before the summit.
The bus ride from Louisiana to Columbus, Ohio is 17-19 hours long, depending on where you boarded. Those of us who boarded in Metairie had the shorter trip while those who boarded in Southwest Louisiana had the longer trip.
The employees of AFP Louisiana made sure the bus ride was activity filled. If you’re a conservative activist organization and you have a bus full of conservative activists, what do you do? You obviously put them to work. After some time, the AFP workers brought out some iPads and prepaid cell phones and asked for volunteers for phone banking.
The iPads are loaded with voter data software from i360 which is a Koch brothers affiliated data company. i360 collects data from public sources such as the Louisiana Secretary of State and commercial data from credit bureaus and helps identify which voters are more likely to support free market policies.
The cell phones are connected to the iPads by calling in a special code which lets the iPad dial numbers for the caller. It’s a lot different from the phone banking I used to run where callers had to physically call their numbers and record the phone banking results on paper.
The phone calls were being made in particular legislative district in north Louisiana and were educating voters on the $700 million in tax increases approved by the legislature this previous session. AFP Louisiana played a major role in defeating Mary Landrieu in her Senate reelection bid last year. While I was unable to get a hard number of how many calls were made on that bus, but I can estimate it was in the hundreds.
Part of the purpose of the trip was a recruiting pitch. Louisiana State Director Philip Joffrion and Deputy State Director John Kay met with most people on the trip one on one to discuss the organization with them. They also had a special catered lunch on Friday for the Louisiana delegation.
AFP Louisiana plans on spending money on radio ads, TV, and direct mail targeting tax hiking legislators. They also plan a massive grassroots operation to turn out fiscally conservative voters in October and November.
AFP Louisiana has also launched a website, Louisiana Scorecard, where you can find out how your legislator voted in the past session.
All in all, conservatives are fired up and angry at the legislature. Incumbents beware.