Ralph Reed writes in response to my story yesterday, which cited the example of a phone-banking Obama supporter and regular Democratic primary voter in Virginia who has received mail from Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition as part of the group’s voter-contact effort to mobilize ten million socially conservatives to vote this year. Reed says it’s unfair to use that as an example of his targeting missing its mark.
“We could have easily dropped them out of the voter education program---their party and voting history is a matter of record,” he writes. “But for strategic reasons we felt it important to contact Democrats who are voters of faith. We're not a Republican campaign committee, and we believe it's a good investment both short-term and long-term to keep them in the program.” I asked him to elaborate on that point:
As to why contact Democrats, because we are a faith-based issues advocacy organization that seeks to mobilize, train, educate, and equip people of faith to be more effective citizens, in particular evangelicals and faithful Roman Catholics. Especially if you're seeking to move and motivate Catholics on issues, you're dealing with a community that is still about one-third Democrat (that's frequently Mass-attending Catholics).
We're not the RNC or the a GOP candidate committee. So the point in your piece that we may have communicated with a Democrat in VA may be a critique of a Romney or RNC — of that I'm not sure. We communicate with voters based on issues, not party or candidate identification. That goes for evangelicals as well. After all, Obama will get about 20% of the evangelical vote, which is one out of every five evangelicals. Are we not to communicate with them either? I think we should, and we do.
Reed notes that the group keeps approximately two million Democrats in its “evangelical/Catholic voter file.”