Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Seeing R.E.D.D.

Harris County's Early Voting Ballot Board reconvenes this morning  to verify signatures on overseas and provisional ballots, so as I complete my service there, I'll just pass this one item along for your consumption.

It took a field trip to a trendy New York hotel nearly a year ago — and then a lot of follow- up — to get Republicans up to speed and on the same page about using technology in their Senate campaigns.

Last January, several dozen Republicans gathered in New York City at the Standard High Line hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District at the invitation of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The group included general consultants for most of the competitive Senate campaigns, mail vendors, pollsters, TV buyers, principals at the top Republican digital and data firms, and NRSC leadership and staff.

“We encouraged people to be very blunt with each other, and they were, in a very good way,” Lira said. “I compare it to the family having the argument they’ve been dancing around for years. … They entered the conference with a lot of historic baggage over, 'You’re taking my budget,’ or ‘You’re trying to steal my thing,’ and they left it with a greater sense of how they could work together.”

“It wasn’t a panacea,” Lira added, sensitive to oversimplification. “But I think it was a pivotal event.”
The High Line summit was a table setter, a beginning. It did two things: it cleared away obstacles to greater cooperation among the GOP’s paid consultant class and between them and the NRSC, and it delivered a clear message to them that the NRSC was expecting the consultants to execute digital-savvy campaigns. But Lira, with the backing of NRSC executive director Rob Collins and political director Ward Baker, was going to do more than just ask. He was determined to hold the campaigns accountable.

So Lira assembled a team to do just that. In March, he hired Mindy Finn, a well-respected digital strategist who had worked on multiple presidential campaigns and also as an executive at Twitter’s D.C. offices. Finn’s sole responsibility was to create what she named the R.E.D.D. program, short for Republicans Excelling at Digital and Data.

Somebody forward this to Jeremy Bird, please.

Update: As a matter of record-keeping here, the TexTrib also had a detailed report on Greg Abbott's extensive -- and, I'm sure, expensive -- voter turnout model.

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