Americans for Prosperity opened their Arkansas office in June 2009. Since then, the state legislature and senate gained a Republican majority for the first time since Reconstruction, and AFP-AR has grown to include over 63,000 volunteers and has more Facebook likes as a percentage of the state population -- 34,000 -- than any other AFP office in the country. Teresa Oelke, the first state director of AFP-AR, has been promoted to vice president of state operations. In 2012, the group spent over $500,000 on state legislative races, and has spent well over that already in 2014.And yet, they lost the fight on Medicaid expansion, in 2013 and again this year when they tried to get the legislature to rescind it. They failed. They've spent millions and millions to buy Arkansans, and haven't managed to accomplish that. It's reminiscent of the $407+ million they spent to lose nationally in 2012. So, have at it guys. You're setting yourselves up as the best enemy Democrats ever had.
AFP also thinks that, at least in Arkansas, they've got the left beat at the Internet game. Cline says, "If you look at what the left has been able to accomplish with social media, in Arkansas, we are significantly ahead of the folks on the other end of the political spectrum from ourselves, and it's noted by everyone." Tim Phillips, the organization's president, notes that their "data folks" have been instrumental in choosing where to canvass. And they've now focused all this might on fighting the Affordable Care Act and the Democrats in Arkansas who supported it, Mark Pryor getting special attention. And after failing to stop the "private option" Medicaid expansion from getting passed in the conservative state legislature in April 2013, they're itching for another victory. Turning out those voters who already are sympathetic to their messaging is key.
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