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POLITICO Playbook: Exclusive: Republicans snooped on Democrats’ House polls
Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer
BEHIND THE SCENES … CAMPAIGN COMMITTEES IN WASHINGTON pay lots of money to get an edge on their opponent. They have research teams, conduct detailed and pricey polls and dispatch trackers across the country to catch members of the other party in unscripted and damaging moments.
BUT ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT, THE NRCC walked across the street to the DCCC’s headquarters on Capitol Hill to stake out some Dem candidates, and stumbled upon what they consider a quite fortuitous find. Dems say it represents tactics that are totally out of bounds, and downright creepy.
THE DCCC was holding a polling meeting with the blinds wide open, all their information on display for passersby to see. The meeting was billed as part of their Red to Blue program — the GOP seats Democrats are trying to flip. The NRCC aides snapped photos, and you can see their photo document here.
REPUBLICANS SAY THEY GLEANED a wealth of valuable intel on the state of key House contests. For example, the NRCC learned that Democrats’ internal polling shows the special election in California’s 25th District — Katie Hill’s former seat — as just a 4-point race, with Republican former Rep. Steve Knight trailing Chrissy Smith 30-26. They also had slides that appeared to show the DCCC’s favorites in contested Democratic primaries.
THE NRCC AND DCCC have disagreed on where to draw the line when it comes to opposition research. The Republican committee, for example, has declined to sign an agreement to not use hacked information in its campaigns.
THE NRCC AND DCCC have both had quite colorful cycles. The NRCC seems to delight in invective. Just Thursday, the NRCC Twitter account was at war with a local Buffalo reporter, and called Rep. LUCY MCBATH (D-Ga.) a “lyin’” “hypocrite” and suggested she endorsed MIKE BLOOMBERG for president because he spent money on her behalf in 2018. The DCCC, meanwhile, fired much of its senior staff last summer after a POLITICO report about lawmakers’ concerns about diversity at the top of the party committee. The DCCC has far outraised the NRCC.