Today, May 2, is the last day register to vote or to change parties. And the Pennsylvania Republicans are gearing up for a Red Wave this fall.
Their Pennsylvania Victory Team has made more than 1 million voter contacts made this cycle, according to Rachel Lee, Republican National Committee northeast regional communications director.
Volunteers across the state gathered for Operation Red Wave on April 23rd to get out the vote ahead of the May 17 primary. Working with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, the RNC has been on the ground since 2016 and never left, said Lee. This has paved the way for increases in voter registration and volunteers.
“Ahead of the Republican primary, the RNC’s permanent, data-driven ground game is mobilizing activists, registering voters, and multiplying our efforts in the commonwealth every day. Keystone State Republicans are fired up and will not be outworked to turn out in force at the polls in May and, ultimately, deliver victories up and down this ballot this November,” said Lee.
One of those volunteers is Liz Preate Havey, who chairs the Montgomery County Republican Committee and the secretary for the Republican State Party.
I grew up with a father (former Attorney General Earnest Preate Jr.) who was involved in Republican politics,” said Havey. “Conservative values, I just grew up in. I’m pro-life, and I believe in limited government. I’ve never wavered for that, even though I went to University of Pennsylvania Law School, which is extremely liberal.”
“One of the reasons I decided to take a step up and lead in Montgomery County has to do with my children,” said Havey. “It’s so one-sided where I live in Lower Merion. It’s so progressive and woke. And they’re in the public schools, and they only get one side. I thought they needed to see that it was important to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means they get negative pushback. I get it from people that live in Lower Merion. They’re nasty to me. I wanted them to know if you believe in something important, you’ve got to stand up and fight for it.”
Her kids are 19, 17 and 13.
“I’ve been volunteering as a committee person since before they were born,” she said. “I took on leadership roles in the last eight years. And this one was a bigger step up.”
“It is fulfilling. I’ve met so many incredible people and had interesting experiences that I would have never had if I didn’t volunteer,” said Havey. “I’ve learned a lot about the region, driven to all parts of the county. I’ve had an awful lot of fun with some nice people who share my values.”
Robin Medeiros also volunteers for the Republican Party, and she’s passionate about it.
While she’s been volunteering for years, “it’s taken off in the last two years,” she said. “I dedicate quite a lot of time to the Republican Party at this point.”
A real estate agent who lives near Scranton, she is president of the Margery Scranton Council of Republican Women and the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women. We rally for all of the candidates. Any free time I have is now dedicated to that.”
She and her husband moved to the Scranton area from Massachusetts 30 years ago, following his job in the munitions industry.
“We’ve done so many things from petition signings to get everyone on the ballot to doing the door-to-door knocking,” said Medeiros. “Last weekend alone, just on Saturday, we had a call to action, Operation Red. We touched with over 50,000.” “People come to candidates’ events, and say, ‘I want to volunteer,’ and we reach out to them, and they join the group of volunteers.”
“In the last two years, we’ve switched and 200,000 voters (statewide), and young people are getting involved,” she said. “And that’s awesome. People are switching from Democrat to Republican.” However, as of April 18, there were 4 million registered Democrats and 3.4 million registered Republicans in Pennsylvania, according to the Department of State.
She hears that folks are concerned about the economy and gas prices.
“People are suffering out there,” she said. “And the border. That’s such an issue with the influx of people coming over the border and the fentanyl that’s coming into the country through the border because it’s insecure, and we’re losing a lot of our younger people to fentanyl…And it’s not just drug addicts. It’s recreational. People are trying it one or two times, and they’re dying because it’s laced with Fentanyl.”
“America’s in real trouble here,” she said.
Meanwhile, in this election cycle, the Pennsylvania Victory Team has held more than 1,400 Republican Leadership Institute trainings with nearly 9,000 people attending and has recruited or activated more than 38,000 volunteers. For Operation Red, the RNC contacted more than 50,000 voters.
The party also hosted a Black business expo, showcasing 15 local small businesses for 80 attendees held at the RNC’s Black American Community Center in Philadelphia. Some of the people who came to that event also changed their party or registered to vote for the first time.
Meanwhile, the RNC has more than three dozen staff on the ground in the state with more on the way.
They also opened an Allentown Hispanic Community Center for strategic engagement as well as the Philadelphia Black American Community Center for strategic engagement.