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Randy_Brinson

Randy Brinson

Dr. R. Randolph "Randy" Brinson (born 1957) is a Christian right activist and gastroenterologist from Montgomery, Alabama. In 2003 Brinson founded Redeem the Vote, an organization originally modeled after the youth-vote Rock the Vote campaign to register young evangelical Christians to vote. The organization has since moved to issue advocacy and mobilization of an email list self-reported at 71 million names.

A life-long Republican, Brinson grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and went to boarding school in South Carolina, where he worked on the successful gubernatorial campaign of James Burrows Edwards, the first Republican to hold that office. He attended Valdosta State College, where he met his wife, Pamela Bennett. After attending the Medical College of Georgia he was a resident at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He completed his gastroenterology fellowship back at the Medical College of Georgia, then moved to Alabama.

From 1987 to 1989 Brinson was staff gastroenterologist at Maxwell Air Force Base and then went into private practice. In the late 1990s he advised governor of Alabama Fob James on health-care issues and helped found the Christian music radio network WAY-FM. He serves on the state board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Board of Trustees for the University of Mobile.

Brinson and his wife married in 1981 and have three children. The eldest, Christopher, attended Samford University, was a White House intern, and is a law student at the University of Alabama. His wife and sons serve on the board of directors for Redeem the Vote, the younger twins Daniel and Philip the collegiate representatives for Auburn University and Vanderbilt University respectively.

Redeem the Vote and other activism

Brinson founded Redeem the Vote in 2003 with $300,000 of his own money. In February 2004, Brinson attended a national religious broadcaster convention and met the marketing firm for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, who he hired to promote the organization.

By October 2004, Redeem the Vote had enlisted 47 Contemporary Christian music groups, including Steven Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace, Jeremy Camp, FFH and Jaci Velasquez, to register young evangelicals and promote political participation. Sponsors included Sean Hannity and Fox News, the American Tract Society, Focus on the Family, FamilyNet and the Gospel Music Association. Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship and Gary Bauer of American Values were members of the national advisory board.

The group estimated it registered between 70,000 and 78,000 members based on the 30,000 forms distributed at concerts and 40,000 over the Internet.

Meanwhile, its email list grew in connection with the promotions for "Passion of the Christ," reaching 12 million addresses by the election. A video message recorded by Christ portrayer Jim Caviezel was shown in churches across the country and e-mailed to more than 60 million people.

"In order to preserve the God-given freedoms we each hold dear, it's important that we let our voices be heard. Voting is not only a privilege, but also an important responsibility to let your voice be heard. It's critical that you participate in the political process, and we encourage you to get involved. Together we can make a difference by voting on Nov. 2. See you at the polls.

At a crucial planning meeting held after the election at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C., in which Christian right leaders decided to target Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, an influential moderate Republican, Brinson recommended against "punishing" Specter, feeling it would split the movement. Soon after, Brinson was invited to meet with advisers to several prominent Democrats including new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, as Bush's second term progressed, more evangelicals became disillusioned for a variety of reasons. Brinson called Bush's outreach efforts "pandering" and suggested the GOP was only interested in them for money or votes.

Following the election, Brinson met with other religious conservative leaders like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Rick Warren, Tom DeLay, and Rick Santorum, at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, DC. Brinson told the Washington Monthly he recommended against "punishing" moderate Republicans like Senator Arlen Specter, saying that "was my first inkling that I wasn't one of them." Thereafter, Brinson was invited to meet with advisors to the minority Democratic leadership in Washington (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, and Gov. Howard Dean). He met with the Democratic Leadership Council in May 2006. Meanwhile, as Bush's second term progressed, more evangelicals became disillusioned for a variety of reasons. Brinson called Bush's outreach efforts "pandering" and suggested the GOP was only interested in them for money or votes.

More recently, during the 2008 Republican nomination campaign, Brinson's group partnered with the Mike Huckabee campaign. Huckabee had been an RTV national chairman in 2004, and the Huckabee campaign showed the most interest when a Redeem the Vote list manager, Webcasting TV, pitched their services. RTV claims to now have 71 million addresses, 25 million belonging to "25 and 45 years old, upwardly mobile, right-of-center, conservative households." The campaign got over 414,000 Iowa contacts from Brinson's list, which is four times the expected participation in the Iowa caucuses.

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