Campaign Memo: Ron Johnson Closes Gap with Feingold, Winning on Cash and Ground Game

To:      Interested Parties
Fr:       Betsy Ankney, Campaign Manager
Re:     Campaign Update
Date:  October 11, 2016

Four weeks before Election Day, our campaign is in the best position yet going into the final stretch of this race. Public and private polling show a race that is consistently tightening and moving in our direction, strong fundraising numbers have eliminated Senator Feingold’s cash advantage, and our ground game is firing on all cylinders, passing two million volunteer voter contacts this week. All of these metrics point to Ron Johnson having a superior message and operation going into November.


  • Our internal data has shown a consistent tightening of the race since August, and now shows Ron with a slight edge and independents breaking our way. Keep in mind that this is the same vaunted data operation that predicted the outcome of the 2014 gubernatorial race in Wisconsin within 2,200 votes.
  • Two public polls within the last two days have reflected this tightening of the race – one poll showing us up five, 45% to 40%, and the other poll showing us down three, within the margin of error, at 42% to 45%. Both show us outperforming the top of the ticket and show significant improvement in Ron’s image, a testament to our positive ads highlighting Ron’s accomplishments on behalf of Wisconsinites.
  • While we’re glad to see public polling reflect what we’re seeing internally, polling has been all over the map this cycle given the unconventional environment, which is why we rely on our proven data operation and feel confident about our numbers.
  • Bottom line is that both our internal data and public polling show this race is INCREDIBLY TIGHT and more importantly, MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
  • Ron now has $5,400,000 on hand after raising $4,000,000 in the third quarter – his best quarter to date and outpacing almost every other Republican Senate candidate. This is a 42% increase over our last quarter ($2,800,000), which at the time was the best quarter of Ron’s candidacy.
  • Ron’s fundraising haul includes over 80,000 donations from Wisconsinites – far surpassing Senator Feingold’s 50,000 donations. No surprise there, given Senator Feingold has raised 70% of his money from out of state.
  • As we’ve said before, Senator Feingold’s bloated operation is spending cash as inefficiently as the federal government – which is why he hasn’t released his cash on hand number even after we goaded him. We’re confident we’re entering the final stretch with more resources than he has.
  • Our ground game continues to be the best in the nation thanks to the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s well-funded machine, boosted by investments from the RNC and Paul Ryan.
  • We’ve made over 2,000,000 volunteer voter contacts to date, including knocking on over 1,000,000 doors. Contrast this with the fact Senator Feingold indicated his team has knocked on just 84,000 doors as of September 24. Sad!
  • Two things have remained true throughout this election cycle: no one can predict what will happen next, and everybody hates Washington politicians who say one thing and do another.
  • Senator Feingold’s been in politics for 34 years – including 18 in the Senate – and yet not once in his 16 ads has he mentioned a single accomplishment.
  • He’s running a negative campaign devoid of any substance because he has nothing to run on. He’s a man without a core. Knowing that “politician” doesn’t poll well, he’s increasingly turning to false attacks against Ron and poll-tested “plans” that, like everything else in his 34-year political career, are nothing more than all talk and no action.
  • After 34 years in politics, it’s no wonder Senator Feingold has devolved into a typical politician who says one thing and does another on every issue.
  • Contrast this with the real results Ron has gotten by using his common-sense manufacturer’s perspective, and it’s no wonder the more money Senator Feingold spends spewing political blather and dishonestly attacking Ron, the more people dislike him.
  • Both public and private data show this race is as tight as ever and moving in the right direction.
  • We have raised significant resources and have more cash in the bank than Senator Feingold – and a more efficient operation that can go the distance.
  • There’s simply no comparison when it comes to ground game – we’ve made over four times as many contacts as Senator Feingold’s team.
  • We have a message that resonates with all Wisconsinites and apparently the more they see of Senator Feingold – and the more money he wastes – the less Wisconsinites like him. Must be rough.
The bottom line: With just four weeks left, the momentum is clearly on our side. Ron’s message is resonating with voters across Wisconsin, our ground game is firing on all cylinders, and our internal data shows this race as tight as ever. We feel very confident heading into the final four weeks of this race. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again — no one will outhustle Ron and this team. Ron’s been underestimated before, and smart observers would be wise not to do so again.