Quietly so far, a power struggle is now under way for control of one of the Republican National Committee’s most valuable assets: its voter file.
The file, which has been built at the cost of many millions of dollars over many years by state Republican parties and by the national committee, is currently housed in the RNC’s Strategy Division, along with Voter Vault, the software that is necessary to use the list.
Multiple Republican sources said that a number of prominent GOP strategists and operatives are trying to persuade the RNC’s leadership to end the party’s monopoly of the list by creating an arrangement whereby a new, non-party group could have access to the list in exchange for improving it.
Among those Republicans said to be pushing for the move are former Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, former White House Political Director Karl Rove and Barry Jackson, a top aide to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio).
Duncan, who is chairman of the board of American Crossroads, one of the non-party groups credited with helping Republicans win the House last year, adamantly opposed the move when he chaired the RNC but now favors it. Rove is also heavily involved in American Crossroads.
Numerous former RNC staffers described the voter file as the committee’s “greatest asset” and argued that by giving up control of the file, which the RNC shares with state parties, the committee would be agreeing to diminish its power dramatically.
Others downplayed the risk, arguing that the RNC must never and will never “give up the list” but can allow private entities access to it. The more the list is used, they argued, the more it would be “refreshed.” And, they added, only the parties can pay for federal get-out-the-vote efforts, thereby guaranteeing the RNC an important role in campaigns.