Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich sees the potential for a strong Republican electoral performance this year.

Many Republicans will be shocked to learn that Election Day 2024 happens long before Nov. 5.

In fact, it hurts the Republican cause – and the elections of President Donald Trump and House and Senate Republicans – to focus narrowly on Nov. 5.

The first election dates are Sept. 16 in Pennsylvania and then Sept. 20 in Minnesota and South Dakota. The next election days are Sept. 23 in Mississippi, and Sept. 24 in Missouri. There are 43 other states and the District of Columbia that follow with their early voting dates. Only Alabama and New Hampshire do not have early voting.

Here’s an example of why this matters: In 2022, the Republican Senate campaign in Pennsylvania was focused on Election Day in November. The campaign did not begin advertising until long after early voting had started. As a result, 40% of Pennsylvanians had already cast their ballots before the first major Republican ad had aired. 

This pattern was not unique to that race.

Republicans have a history of failing to get the vote out early. This has a compounding negative effect. 

First, it means Republican turnout on Election Day must be dramatically higher to make up for the number of Democratic votes already in the ballot box. Second, and probably more important, it means that Republican candidates have not been able to focus on the low propensity voters – those who are least likely to turn out.

The Democrats have focused on early voting in large part because they want to be able to identify everyone who has not yet turned out. That way, they can focus on phone calls, direct mail, text messages, and even visits to remind those voters that they should vote. They keep it going until the people vote, and their name comes off the list.