GOP unveils fundraising tool to rival Democrats’ ActBlue

President Barack Obama and gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. for a campaign event supporting candidate Hillary Clinton. Obama and Cooper have both used ActBlue to raise funds. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats raised $1 billion on the website for candidates, causes. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Republican Party believes it finally has its answer to the Democratic fundraising behemoth ActBlue.

GOP groups are lending their support to a new donor platform called Patriot Pass, which they say will help the party match and even surpass the organization that sent more than $700 million to Democratic campaigns in 2018.

After the Republican Party’s midterm losses, party officials said they needed to find a way to match the small-dollar fundraising power of ActBlue.

The Republican platform is a joint effort of GOP payment processing firm Revv and the party’s data clearinghouse, DataTrust. Revv founder Gerrit Lansing, who briefly worked as White House chief digital officer, said that combination will help the GOP pass Democrats.

Democrats are playing a game of catch-up of their own, struggling to create a hub for their data to rival DataTrust.

Patriot Pass is meant to allow the GOP to unite its donor and political databases, helping the party to improve its small-dollar fundraising and understanding of the electorate.

The GOP platform will allow one-click donations, like ActBlue does, to candidates and committees on the political right, leading to more streamlined donations to Republican causes.

“Reducing the friction increases donations,” said Lansing, who said the party studied ActBlue and e-commerce sites.

An advantage of Patriot Pass over ActBlue, Lansing said, is its reliance on the technology and security of Silicon Valley payment processor Stripe.

GOP groups don’t expect Patriot Pass to match ActBlue’s fundraising immediately but believe as the 2020 election gets into high gear it will help level the playing field on small-dollar fundraising, which has long been a Democratic advantage.

By the end of next month, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, the Republican National Committee and the GOP’s two congressional arms will be live on the new platform, Lansing said. By midyear, he said, they hope to have individual candidates and outside organizations on board.

The rollout was made in conjunction with the Tuesday start of the winter meeting of the RNC’s governing body in New Mexico.

News of the new GOP donor platform was first reported by Politico.

The launch of a potential GOP grassroots fundraising apparatus comes as N.C. Democrats touted a fundraising advantage over their Republican rivals. The North Carolina Democratic Party said it spent over $16 million during the past two-year election cycle — millions more than its Republican counterpart — on the way to picking up more General Assembly and statewide court seats.

The state Republican Party reported expenditures of nearly $10 million.