Republicans evolve party’s digital fundraising game targeting small donors

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Republicans evolve party’s digital fundraising game targeting small donors

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FIRST ON FOX: The GOP is evolving its game when it comes to digital fundraising, and it’s already generating returns for the party. 

Small-dollar digital donations are becoming a focus of many Republican campaigns through the fundraising platform WinRed, following the lead set by House Republican Conference chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.

Stefanik’s campaign gave Fox News Digital an exclusive peek behind the curtain of how the congresswoman and other GOP candidates are adapting their digital strategies to court these increasingly coveted donors.

STEFANIK HAULS IN $10 MILLION IN 2021, BREAKING RECORDS AND CONTINUING GOP TREND

Rep. Elise Stefanik

Rep. Elise Stefanik
(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The New York Republican’s campaign told Fox News Digital that the congresswoman was one of the early candidates to capitalize off of the digital space and has compiled a list of over 500,000 small-dollar donors through WinRed.

The campaign also noted that Stefanik has already raised over $5 million for other GOP candidates this cycle via WinRed.

Stefanik also worked with former President Trump’s team to fundraise with 45, running a digital contest with the former president to meet with Trump and the congresswoman at Mar-a-Lago.

The contest saw 50 GOP members and campaigns take part and 50,000 entries, bringing in $2.7 million in donations to Stefanik’s campaign, Trump, and GOP candidates, campaigns, and committees.

Iowa state Rep. Ashley Hinson speaks with CQ Roll Call at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15, 2019.

Iowa state Rep. Ashley Hinson speaks with CQ Roll Call at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15, 2019.
(Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

“I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of grassroots donors who have not only donated to my re-election campaign, but have supported my endorsed candidates by making grassroots donations through WinRed for our critical efforts to flip the House,” Stefanik told Fox News Digital.

“Grassroots conservatives have never been more fired up and involved as we watch Joe Biden and House Democrats continue to implode,” the House GOP conference chairwoman continued. “As the historic Red Wave builds and more Democrats run for the exit, I will continue to support strong, America First candidates as we work to Fire Nancy Pelosi once and for all and SAVE AMERICA! Stay tuned!”

“Elise continues to turbocharge Republican online fundraising – leading the effort to use WinRed to bundle small dollars directly for other campaigns and not just her own fundraising,” Gerrit Lansing said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “It’s a very effective model for House Leadership to win back the majority.”

Small-dollar online donors are becoming an increasingly important resource for campaigns, something which Stefanik has recognized and worked to ensure candidates are able to reach them.

Stefanik seeded several campaigns in the last election cycle with 40,000 unique donors, including freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, whom Stefanik fundraised for via WinRed. Stefanik endorsed Hinson through her political action committee, E-PAC.

The donors Stefanik shared with Hinson were introduced to the Iowa Republican via the New York congresswoman’s email list, growing support for Hinson. Hinson has since become one of the strongest fundraisers in her congressional freshman class.

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Rep. Claudia Tenney
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hinson’s campaign reported that, of the record-breaking $809,000 haul she pulled in last quarter, 96% of her donations were $100 or less.

“I’m so grateful for Elise’s leadership and support. She had my back during my first campaign, and through E-PAC she helped ensure I had the resources necessary to win,” Hinson told Fox News Digital.

“I’m proud to serve with Elise, and I’m following her lead to support our next generation of GOP Women candidates that have stepped up to run across the country,” Hinson continued. “They will be the reason we take back the majority this cycle.”

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., also worked with Stefanik in the fundraising game, telling Fox News Digital in a statement that she is “incredibly grateful” for the congresswoman’s and E-PAC’s “support in raising over $100,000 for my campaign and recount efforts last cycle from her grassroots fundraising list.”

Congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt

Congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt
(Fox News)

“Many of these small dollar donors have continued to support my campaign on WinRed,” Tenney continued. “Elise’s support of my race and other Republican Women was critical to our gains in the House in 2020 and will lead the charge to fire Nancy Pelosi in 2022.”

“Chairwoman Stefanik’s leadership and laser focus on helping new candidates raise the resources we need to fight the left’s radical agenda is the key to Republicans taking back the House and removing the gavel from Nancy Pelosi’s hand,” Wisconsin GOP candidate Derrick van Orden told Fox News Digital.

“Her efforts have brought in over $10,000 for us and put us in the strongest position as a party we have been in years,” he continued. “We are moving united as Republicans to the 2022 midterms and are Fired up to Fire Pelosi and bring back our American values to DC.”

Karoline Leavitt, a first-time candidate running for New Hampshire’s First District, told Fox News Digital that she is “very grateful to have earned the support” of Stefanik, her former boss.

“Elise’s unmatched efforts on WinRed have helped my campaign surge and raise a record amount of grassroots donations to help flip this seat red,” Leavitt continued.

Digital fundraising is already positioning itself as a key space to rake in cash, with the electronic landscape giving campaigns a 21st-century boost in reach and interactivity.

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Stefanik and other Republicans’ push to grow the GOP’s digital backers is a critical move that will likely be a boon to the party’s push to take back Congress in 2022.

The amount of money being brought in already also illustrates the growing online support for Republicans in a digital space that has historically leaned left.

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