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WASHINGTON — Flush with cash and bracing for a challenging midterm election season, the Republican National Committee is preparing to deploy more staffers on the ground in key races than it has at this point in any election in the party's history.
The RNC will add an additional 170 permanent staffers to its field program by the end of March, more than doubling the number already in the field to over 300. And the party expects to add 200 more before the start of the summer.
"Our record-breaking fundraising has fueled our ability to continue our permanent, data-driven field program in 25 states, including every battleground state," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to NBC News.
"This is the largest field program in our party's history. Our infrastructure, combined with on-the-ground enthusiasm for President Trump and Republican policies puts us in prime position to defend our majorities in 2018," she added.
The RNC says it will deploy staffers to 25 states across the country, and including state directors, communications directors, data directors and field organizers. Many come from a fellowship program called the Republican Leadership Initiative, which has trained 9,000 party volunteers since January of last year.
With all signs pointing to a big year for Democrats, Republican candidates will need all the help they can get. The GOP is trying defend their majorities in Congress, as well as control of dozens of governorships and state legislatures across the country.
While Democrats under President Barack Obama earned a reputation for running a superior "ground game," the RNC has spent years quietly building a sophisticated field program that was credited with helping Donald Trump, whose stripped-down campaign lacked the capacity of most modern presidential campaigns.
The RNC acts as the political arm of the White House, in tandem with Trump's re-election campaign, making its success critical to Trump's political success.
While the Democratic National Committee has struggled with fundraising, the RNC raised $12.4 million in January, for a total of $144.9 million since the start of 2017. The RNC says they now have four times as much cash on hand heading into this year's elections as they did at the same point in last midterms, in 2014.