The door-knockers wearing matching T- shirts and carrying electronic tablets loaded with maps and survey scripts fanned out on a recent evening across Hillsborough County, a Florida enclave that has backed the winning presidential candidate in each of the last three elections.
Their mission: Find residents who share the small- government philosophy of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group founded by billionaire industrialists and Republican donors Charles and David Koch
It’s a project conceived in envy, as the Kochs watched another billionaire, financier George Soros, underwrite a 2004 Democratic voter-turnout project that operated outside of the official party, said Tim Phillips, AFP’s president.
“To their credit, Soros and other progressive, liberal donors decided to strengthen the movement rather than the party,” Phillips said. “It eventually worked, and there’s no reason we can’t see the same success.”