Senior Republican leaders are exploring ways to match the strong opposition research programs Democrats displayed in the last election cycle.
The result of the new effort could be a new outside organization or a project run by the party committees. The only decision so far, according to a Republican strategist involved in the 2012 elections, is that something must get done.
"There is a recognition that we were outmatched in on-the-ground field research and that something needs to be changed in order to generate the type of personal-driven, character-type research that Democrats launched very effectively against Republicans," the strategist said.
The strategist cited the North Dakota Senate race, noting that the best hits against Democratic Sen.-elect Heidi Heitkamp were that she supported the health care bill signed into law by President Barack Obama. The party is looking for richer research rather than vague policy research, the strategist said.
Four top Democrat-aligned outside groups launched in the 2012 cycle to help combat Republican outside spending, including one each to focus on the presidential, Senate and House contests. The fourth was American Bridge, which focused solely on opposition research, something Republicans did not have.