North Texas Daily

Denton GOP Hosts Abbott University Event About Grassroots Activism

Denton GOP Hosts Abbott University Event About Grassroots Activism

Denton GOP Hosts Abbott University Event About Grassroots Activism
August 25
20:19 2018

The Denton County Republican Party hosted an Abbott University event to an audience of seven people Saturday. The event focused on the Republican opposition and grassroots activism – specifically block walking and using the Advantage app, an app for voter contact used by Republicans.

“We started [Abbott University] back in the 2014 campaign,” said John Wittman, press secretary for the Greg Abbott re-election campaign. “And it’s a continuation of that, so it’s been going on for several years.”

Abbott University is a set of instructional courses meant to teach people across the state how to better organize grassroots campaign.

At the Denton Event – which officially began around 10:10 a.m. and lasted about a half-hour – opened up with opposition research, specifically information regarding Beto O’Rourke, Ted Cruz’s challenger for the Texas U.S. Senate seat, and groups such as Battleground Texas, Indivisible, Our Revolution Texas and the Texas Democrats.

“As with any campaign, you’re constantly looking to engage volunteers and train folks,” Wittman said. “We use Abbott University as an opportunity to do that. As a result, the purpose of that is to train our volunteers and those involved in our campaign how to go knock [on] doors and how to talk to voters and make phone calls and things like that.”

Attendees of Saturday’s event were also shown an eight-minute video about how to block walk and use the Advantage app to reach out to voters.

“I wanted to load the Advantage app and I wanted to learn a little bit more about it, so I can use it for block walking,” said Loretta Sullivan, a 66-year-old administrative assistant,  when asked why she attended Saturday’s event.

Wittman said grassroots activism, which was the focus of Saturday’s event, is a necessity in order to win elections.

“We’re going to win this by going door-to-door and engaging directly with voters,” Wittman said. “Grassroots activism is the key component of that.”

He also said teaching grassroots activism helps the Abbott campaign because people then have the skills and tools necessary to contact and talk with voters.

“At the end of the day, major campaigns are won by engaging directly with voters and that’s what these grassroots activists help with,” Wittman said. “They’re [an] incredibly valuable part of our team.”

With the midterm election 72 days away, attendees at Saturday’s event differed in terms of concern levels for the potential of a “blue wave,” a term used for a high number of Democratic candidates in November.

“The reality is that our campaign is taking nothing for granted,” Wittman said. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure Republicans are elected up and down the ballot.”

Sullivan said she would prefer the opposite of a “blue wave.”

“Sure, absolutely – we want to stop [the ‘blue wave’],” Sullivan said. “We want the ‘red wave.’”

Scott Lipscomb, a 60-year-old dentist, said he is not concerned about the potential for a “blue wave.”

“I doubt it will happen,” Lipscomb said. “I doubt there’s going to be a big wave, one way or the other. All you can do is get out there and encourage people to vote.”

Featured Image: Hannah Devine talks to the attendees about the opposition research as she leads the training session. Denton was just one of the locations that had a training taking place that day. Ashley Gallegos 

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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