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The Republican Party’s best-connected political operatives have quietly built a massive fundraising, organizing and advertising machine based on the model assembled by Democrats early in the decade, and with the same ambitious goal — to recapture Congress and the White House.
The new groups could give Republicans and their allies a powerful campaign apparatus separate from the Republican National Committee. Karl Rove, political architect of the Bush presidency, and Ed Gillespie, former Republican Party chairman, are the most prominent forces behind what is, in effect, a network of five overlapping groups, three of which were started in the past few months.
The operating assumption of Rove, Gillespie and the other organizers is that despite the historical dominance of Republican fundraising and organizing, the GOP has been outmaneuvered by Democrats and their allies in recent years, and it is time to strike back.
“Where they have a chess piece on the board, we need a chess piece on the board,” said Gillespie, who is involved in all five groups in roles ranging from chairman to informal adviser. “Where they have a queen, we shouldn’t have three pawns.”