RNC to make hiring CTO a priority

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The Republican National Committee unveiled a highly ambitious laundry list of recommendations in its so-called “autopsy report” on Monday, but at the top of the list — at least regarding the organization’s technological reformation — is the hiring of a new chief technology and digital officer.

The RNC’s search for a chief technology and digital officer was first revealed last week Tuesday. The committee plans to fill the position by May 1.

The full 100-page report released Monday detailed more specifics about the job description, mentioning that the experience and background of person selected for the position should send “a strong and immediate signal” that the RNC is “serious” about growing its “digital and tech operations and data integration.”

“The chief technology and digital officer should identify, recruit and hire a working group of data scientists, tech and digital advocates to build a structure that can eventually be deployed during the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race to provide a 21st century digital, data, and tech operation for our candidates,” said the  report.

The total cost to implement the organization’s strategy this year also remains unclear at the moment, except for the $10 million it plans to spend this year on its grassroots minority outreach effort.

“Especially for the data/technology/digital piece, our first priority is getting the CTO in to make the decisions about what the department should look like and do a budget from there”, RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski told TheDC.

Kukowski told TheDC that the organization is currently talking to candidates about the position.  Noting that the RNC only received the recommendations last week and that the organization’s new chief technology officer will be facing a monumental task, Kukowski said it is too early for details about who is being considered or what that person would be paid.

“Don’t want to put the cart before the horse on this one especially,” said Kukowski.

The autopsy report also recommends that the new officer “have regular ‘working group’ meetings with representatives from different campaign committees, elected leadership, vendors, and party tech leaders on the GOP side who have an interest in participating in the debate/discussion about how best to build the structure needed to grow our tech and digital efforts.”

Finally, the RNC report recommends a new focus on in-house digital and data training at the national, state and local levels; formation of a Data Analytics Institute, a campaign app store and shared voter data; and further development of the Republican party’s relationship with the technology community.

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