As Republicans look to upgrade their technological capabilities, the party’s national leadership in Washington isn’t dropping any hints about whether the digital consultants who had called the shots for the Romney campaign have a future with the party.
When asked by The Daily Caller , the RNC, RSCC, and NRSC were all silent on the matter of consultants, particularly about the digital consulting firm Targeted Victory and its co-founder Zac Moffatt, Romney’s former digital director.
Moffatt and Targeted Victory — which made $71.9 million from the Romney campaign, according to campaign expenditure reports — took the brunt of the post-election criticism for the campaign’s technology failure.
While the makers of the Romney campaign’s failed GOTV tool, Project ORCA, slid off into the shadows, Moffatt defended the campaign’s digital efforts as a success – even going on a public-relations tour to tout his tactics in the face of increasingly heated criticism of the operation.
During one recent conversation, however, the RNC redirected TheDC’s attention to its Growth and Opportunity Project, which was unveiled in January to survey voters about their thoughts on future of the Republican Party.
The Growth and Opportunity Project was concocted by Republican leaders in Washington who had regrouped post-election in December 2012.
While the RNC survey had a clear focus on appealing to minorities, the site lacked any substantive mention of digital technology or data.
RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski told TheDC that the organization expects that ”the recommendations for how the GOP should move forward on issues like digital, data, ground game, etc.” will be announced on March 18 by RNC Chairman Reince Preibus at the National Press Club in Washington.
Kukowski was silent, however, on whether the Romney campaign’s digital consultants have a future with the party.
Recent talk of the organization hiring a new chief technology officer out of Silicon Valley by May 1 has put new attention on whether the party’s leadership is finally ready to make digital and data a new priority.
The young blood of the party has also been doing its own homework as it continues to push forward on efforts to evolve technologically beyond the campaign’s social media app gimmicks, and into more serious data analysis and targeting.
A landmark report published in December 2012 by Patrick Ruffini, president of the digital consulting firm Engage DC, documented the stark difference between the two campaign’s digital operations.
For example, not only did the Obama campaign use a so-called “persuadability score” to gauge voter susceptibility to campaign appeals, its campaign analytics team employed 50 people, including an embedded analytics team to measure the campaign’s internal operations.