The Republican National Committee, tasked with running the get-out-the-vote operation for presidential nominee Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP ticket, is finally hitting full capacity in its field program with an infusion of hundreds of new staffers, officials said Friday.
The party announced that 392 staffers were hired this week, giving it a total of more than 1,000 paid field organizers across the country. That's nearly double the number it had less than two weeks ago, when the RNC field staff totaled 504.
GOP officials are now racing to find offices for the new hires. Up until this week, most RNC field organizers were working out of local GOP county and state headquarters in an effort to save money. The party is now expanding the number of RNC "victory" offices from just three to 101, including 27 in the key battleground state of Florida.
The late field surge gives the party a larger footprint on the ground than it had at any point in 2012, when the national committee and nominee Mitt Romney's campaign together had 576 paid field organizers, officials said. But it remains to be seen whether the GOP can match the combined resources of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Clinton campaign officials declined to reveal details about their field program, but Democrats are building on the model that President Obama used in his 2012 reelection, when they deployed 3,000 staff members into the field. Unlike Clinton, who already has hundreds of staffers around the country, Trump has kept his staff lean and is heavily relying on the party to serve as his campaign's voter mobilization arm.
RNC officials said Friday that they are confident they are close to matching the Democrats' ground resources, noting that their state directors have been in place since 2013.
"Our organizing efforts began years ago and this new wave of hires will seamlessly plug into our operation as we head into the final stretch of the campaign season," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. "The RNC is committed to sending Donald Trump to the White House and solidifying our majorities in Congress.”
Recent upheaval in Trump's campaign reportedly slowed down the party's field expansion. Although the RNC is financing the ground operation through its share of proceeds from a joint fundraising agreement with the campaign, Trump officials get to sign off on the hires.
The party's biggest investment appears to be in Florida, where the number of RNC field staff members ballooned from 71 in mid-August to 200 this week. In North Carolina, the field corps jumped from 46 to 172. And in Ohio, it expanded from 54 to 112.