OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On a mid-October day in Downtown Omaha, political operatives from around the Midwest learned how to utilize data — such as models, list building, prospecting on social media — all so they’re ready for next year’s campaign.
“You can have the infrastructure but if nobody knows how to use it, the value is lost,” said Justin Kemp, Deputy Chief Data Officer at the Republican National Committee.
Kemp says that infrastructure has improved drastically for the GOP in the last 11 years after Barack Obama won re-election using technology to push voters.
“Biggest thing that we changed was we made it more about the party, about the RNC, and building the infrastructure there and offering it off to candidates free of charge, whereas Democrats are very, very candidate-centric,” said Kemp.
Local experts agree.
“I think the Republicans trailed for a little while. I think they caught up,” said Ryan Horn, President of Bullhorn Communications, who does political ads nationwide.
Horn has been working in political advertising for the last seven years. He says using data helps them properly target voters, convince moderates to vote red and remind solid conservatives to get to the polls.
The key to that information is social media.
“The dirty little secret is people give away their most valuable commodity for free, it’s their data, information about who they are,” said Horn.
Kemp says the Republicans have the advantage because the $450 million investment at a national level is shared among GOP campaigns throughout the country, allowing campaigns in different states to work together for their shared goal of electing Republicans to office.
“The enhanced ability for campaigns to speak to each other for the work to piggyback when you’re looking at a statewide race, with congressional races, statewide races, legislative races on top of that, we can all work together and we can have a bigger impact,” said Kemp.