Want a lucrative consulting contract from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or one of their top candidates this cycle? First, a few questions.
After tensions between GOP officials and consultants bubbled over in 2012, top NRSC aides are in the process of revamping their relationship with the hired hands who might work with their spending arm and candidates this cycle.
On Tuesday, NRSC Political Director Ward Baker sent the following memo to more than 250 GOP consultants and vendors:
TO: Prospective Vendors
FROM: Ward Baker
DATE: April 2, 2013
RE: NRSC IE Program Revitalization
Victory in 2014
The NRSC is full steam ahead prepping and planning for victory in 2014 to take back the majority in the U.S. Senate. Part of that preparation is revitalizing and reimagining the IE program to ensure wins in crucial battleground states. We believe this can be accomplished through new ideas and innovative strategies from not only the new leadership at the NRSC, but from you as well.
What Would You Do Differently?
As we look to build our IE program for the 2014 cycle, we want to hear from you as key strategists and prospective vendors on how you would improve the IE program. We are asking for a maximum of 1,000 words by May 1st. When appropriate in the process, we will also provide you with our detailed Firewall Policy to ensure that we are fully compliant in the current regulatory environment. Our call for suggestions is not mandatory, but simply a request. You can send your thoughts and suggestions to XXXXXXXX .
We appreciate your help and look forward to hearing from you soon.
To be sure, the teeming tensions between consultants and party officials, who dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in work to them each cycle, reverberated throughout the GOP in the wake of the 2012 elections. Last month, a panel at an annual Conservative Political Action Conference asked, "Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?"
Still, Senate Republican operatives bore the brunt of that criticism after a net loss of two seats last cycle, when the map was decidedly in their favor. In 2014, Senate Republicans have an even more promising map, with several pick-up opportunities in traditionally conservative states including Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas.
So far, the NRSC's pre-emptive outreach to the consultant community has been productive, according to a few of the memo's recipients. One consultant commented that this process "forces vendors to get engaged," instead of just complaining about it later in the cycle.
"It's a good first step for the committee toward analyzing ways to improve its IE process," said another consultant who received the email.