Former Republican National Committee faith outreach director Chad Connelly announced Monday that using conservative pastors to mobilize Christian voter turnout was such a success in Virginia last year that his group is expanding its “American Restoration Tour” to 16 states for this year’s midterm elections.
Connelly runs an organization called Faith Wins, the purpose of which is “to maximize and activate the Christian vote and influence at every level in the public arena.” He made the announcement about this year’s project on the Truth & Liberty Coalition’s livestream program, which he also used to launch last year’s campaign.
Connelly bragged about the impact his work had on helping place Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor’s office in 2021, saying that over the course of the year, his organization held “a couple hundred meetings” in the state and managed to get “312 churches [to] register 77,000 new voters.” On top of that, Connelly said they also trained and “recruited over 1,300 people to be poll watchers.”
“We trained pastors to get Sunday School classes to go to their county election commission,” Connelly said. “It was beautiful, y’all.”
Connelly said that his trained poll watches would inspect the list of those who had registered to vote in Virginia every week and “started creating kill lists” of suspected fraudulent registrations, crowing that “we ended up killing 5.2 percent of the vote just by having eyeballs on it.” Connelly later revealed that his activists are doing similar work around the nation in anticipation of the midterm elections and are currently “cleaning up voter rolls in 8 states.”
The centerpiece of Connelly’s plans for the 2022 elections is to bring David Barton—who regularly misrepresents both the Bible and American history to support his Christian nationalist agenda—to as many churches in as many states as possible. Despite the fact that Barton’s Christian nationalist history has been repeatedly debunked by historians, he remains an influential religious-right and GOP activist.
“I think we’re gonna get 16 or 17 states, based on my funding,” Connelly said. “David’s fired up about what we’re doing. He did 12 states and 43 cities with me last fall between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. We [spoke to] 14,007 people.
“We’re still raising money,” he continued. “We’re trying to replicate what we did in Virginia. We’re gonna try to do it in 16 states. … Our goal this year is to raise $3 million. Basically, most of that goes toward [paying pastors to recruit other pastors]. In Virginia, we had seven people that were running run around the state and doing small meetings with pastors. Most of them are bi-vocational pastors. I have not had to pick out anybody. God just provided. People emerged, pastors said, ‘Hey, I want to get involved. How do I do this?’ We had a meeting in Dallas at David Barton’s museum and Glenn Beck’s museum a couple of weeks ago, we had the 35 core pastors from the 18 top states we think we’ll be in. Our goal is to raise enough money to put pastors on the ground, talking to other pastors, doing small meetings that lead to big meetings.”