When Tarleton State University student, Jason Moulton, is approached by a Republican operative and asked to make a video about the Republican Party, Moultons’ first thought is to say no.
“He said, ‘Well, that’s the way we like it,’ ” says Moulons.
But he was not alone in feeling that way.
Republicans in New York state, a crucial swing state for the GOP, are now looking to flip the map, turning the once blue state red.
And they’re doing so with a Republican candidate, former New Jersey Gov.
Christine Todd Whitman, who has raised nearly $1.3 million for the primary race.
“It’s a big opportunity for Republicans to make big gains,” said John Walsh, a political science professor at New York University.
Whitman, a former state lawmaker who ran for governor last year, has attracted a lot of national attention and is seen as a rising star in the GOP.
She recently announced that she would run for the presidency, but she has yet to officially file paperwork to do so.
But with a campaign that began last fall and has raised almost $2 million, Whitman has been able to get on the ballot in nearly every New Jersey district.
The state has become increasingly diverse and has a large African American population, and it is considered one of the safest states in the country for minorities.
In the first two months of this year, Democrats have won almost all of the state’s congressional seats, including a state Senate seat and two governorships.
But Whitman’s support has been especially important in a state that has historically favored Republicans, including in the Democratic-controlled legislature, where she has won her two most recent elections.
“I think the Democrats are doing an excellent job,” Walsh said.
“They’re getting a lot more media attention than Republicans.”
Whitman is a strong fundraiser, but her success in New England states is partly due to the fact that she is a college graduate, Walsh noted.
The Democratic candidate has also made a point of criticizing Republican policies.
She has proposed to require all teachers to teach about gender equality, she has said she would work to raise the minimum wage and she has called for a ban on same-sex marriage.
In her first TV ad, Whitman speaks in front of a picture of a family of three who has worked hard to raise their children in the New England countryside.
“We’re working hard every day to get them educated and educated and well educated, and so we can go on to help create jobs and build the middle class in America,” Whitman said.
But that is not a political message that appeals to all voters, and Democrats are looking to tap into a dissatisfaction with the status quo that has been building for years.
“If you look at the last four years, we’ve had the most unpopular president in the history of our country, we have the most divisive Congress, we had the least popular Congress,” Walsh added.
“You can’t win the presidency on an economy that is collapsing.”
Republican strategist Josh Voorhees, a Republican strategist and consultant in New Hampshire, has watched Whitman’s campaign closely and believes she has a solid chance of winning.
“The way that she’s been campaigning is very focused on economic issues and how she would help create a more equitable economy and how to fix the problems of our broken health care system,” Voorhoes said.
Whitman’s candidacy is also raising concerns about whether she has enough support from the Republican establishment.
Many GOP insiders have voiced concerns about Whitman’s lack of experience and her ties to the Koch brothers, the Kochs’ political network.
But she has maintained her focus on the issues that matter most to voters.
Whitman is seen by many in the party as someone who can help them win elections and that has helped her in New Mexico, where Republican Gov.
Susana Martinez is trying to turn a state where Democrats are favored into a swing state that could flip to the Democrats.
The Republican Governors Association has said it is in contact with Whitman’s team about the race.
“Our governor is a rising talent, she is well-known and well-liked in the state and the nation, and we’re looking forward to having her run in New New Mexico,” said state GOP Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury.
The New York Times has also picked up on Whitman’s fundraising prowess, reporting that she has raised more than $1 million in less than a month, more than all but two other candidates in the primary.
“In the last month alone, she’s raised more money than any other candidate, and she is more successful at getting out the message,” said Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the New York Republican State Committee.
“She has made it clear that she will not be afraid to use her platform to bring New Jersey voters back to the table and work for New Jersey taxpayers.”
Whitman has also raised significant money from outside New Jersey, including from the Koch Brothers’ political organization, Americans for Prosperity.
That organization has spent more than