John Billingsley, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, left, speaks with Detective Dennis Kintigh of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office during a meeting of Republicans at Elks Lodge #969, Wednesday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
New Mexico’s Republican Party Chairman John Billingsley spoke Wednesday to the Chaves County Republican Women about a new grassroots push to reach voters, the use of innovative technology and key candidates for 2014.
“It is absolutely fantastic to get back to southern New Mexico,” Billingsley said. “Conservative values we have here are really missing in a large portion of the country today, with all that is going on.”
Billingsley was elected to a two-year term as chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico.
State Republicans are moving forward with new enthusiasm, Billingsley said.
“The despondency from in November was huge,” Billingsley said. “Now, it has turned around 180 degrees. People are so positive. We are super enthused about going forward in 2014.”
A new push to organize the state’s voters through a “boots-on-the-ground” effort is one way the party will work to turn around the push made lately by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Billingsley said.
Eight weeks ago, the Democratic Party placed paid workers into counties and precincts with the objective to go door-to-door and begin to increase progressive voters, he said.
“They are working within those counties to turn them even more ‘blue,’” he said. “It is incumbent upon our (county Republican) Parties to get active within our precincts.”
The problem is especially serious in New Mexico and that needs to be addressed urgently, he said.
“If we don’t get this done, we won’t win another election in the next decade or two,” Billingsley said.
The state Republican Party will go live with a new database system within the next two months, followed by web sites and later by smartphone apps for campaign workers.
The new technology will allow party workers to identify voters and demographics. New Mexico will become one of the first states to utilize the tools, outside of Republican parties in Oregon, he said.
The program will have some 500 micro-targeting points for each person in the state, based on technology used by retail chains to identify shopper preferences.
“It’s not new or intrusive,” Billingsley said. “Retailers have been doing this for about 15 years. It’s a very positive thing, set up exclusively for the state of New Mexico.”
The party will launch its new grassroots effort and focus on hand shakes, meet and greets and boots on the ground, Billingsley said.
A number of strong candidates are already preparing for the next election.
“We’ve identified a number of house candidates that we’re very close in the performance matrix in very targeted districts,” he said. “It’s something the Republican Party is looking at heavily.
“We’ve identified a number of key candidates in all (state and congressional) positions.”