RNC boot camp aims to empower campaigns with data

big-data (1)
Will access to national databases help Florida consultants swing 1.7 million disengaged Joe Biden voters?

Republican operatives from Florida and the Southeastern U.S. continue a workshop in Tampa led by the Republican National Committee.

The political professionals there will learn to use databases of networks available to candidates seeking everything from a place in Congress down to local district seats. It’s part of a goal to lift Republicans nationwide in offices large and small.

“We’re really excited to be in Florida, working with folks on the ground, spending our time to share as much as we can and help them leverage data to win,” said Justin Kemp, deputy chief data officer for the RNC.

The event is one of nine boot camps held around the county in partnership between the National Republican Congressional Committee and the RNC. The Republican Party of Florida assisted with the Tampa event. About 37 political professionals attended the event Thursday, nearly half from Florida. It showcases data and technology the national party invested in to develop better campaign strategy, material that’s publicly available in many cases but bears a significant cost to collect and deploy. But campaigns large and small working with their local Republican party will be able to access the tools and information for free.

Why do this? Party leaders point to the Democratic side as an example of a problem this seeks to avoid. When Barack Obama ran for President in 2008, he famously employed data in new ways to target voters and win a landslide election using the tools of the 21st Century. But none of that helped Democrats down-ticket, nor was it available to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton when she ran for President and lost in 2016.

“It’s really built around individual candidates, and that data goes to no one else,” Kemp said.

The data could be invaluable as candidates in challenging races seek out voters that could swing elections.

For example, the RNC has identified a group of voters they call “Biden disengagers.” Those are people who may have voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election for whatever reason but are open to voting for Republicans in the future. There are about 1.7 million such voters the party has identified in Florida alone.

Is the goal to turn those voters into Republicans? That would be ideal, Kemp said, but campaigns will need to craft messages on a case-by-case basis. Campaigns most likely want the support of these voters for a single upcoming race.

“The bigger piece is just knowing where they are and being able to speak with them and message them properly,” Kemp said. “It’s hard to knock on every single door in a state or mail every single voter, so when you can narrow that down to the folks that are making the biggest impact, it just helps campaigns.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


2 comments

  • Michael

    April 22, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    .

  • tom palmer

    April 25, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Do the Dems have their own boot camp or are they sleeping through this election?

Comments are closed.


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