Republicans hire veteran political consultants to modernize digital strategy

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The GOP organization responsible for electing Republican senators says it is working hard to upgrade its much-mocked digital strategy operation. But while Democrats have made a habit of recruiting top talents from Silicon Valley to assist with digital strategy, Republicans are still relying on a familiar team of political consultants. 

In an email sent Monday morning to supporters, National Republican Senate Committee chairman Sen. Jerry Moran  highlighted four recent hires: Matt Lira, Daniel Huey, Dain Valverde and Bill Murphy.

This new team, Moran said, will focus on modernizing the NRSC’s digital strategy, an umbrella term for social media, data analysis, web and mobile applications, and online advertising — all of which help promote messaging, fundraising and voter turnout. The GOP’s digital strategy was harshly criticized in the wake of last November’s election and is widely seen as inferior to the Democrats’ much-vaunted digital operation. 

All four members of the NRSC’s new digital strategy team are longtime GOP staffers and party insiders.

Lira, whom Moran described as a “digital whiz” in his statement, ran digital operations for Rep. Eric Cantor and was the digital director for then-vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.  He is now in charge of directing the NRSC’s “online operations and digital strategy.”

Huey — who is now serving the committee as director of digital and data — was an account executive for the Republican digital political consulting firm CRAFT | Media / Digital. Valverde, now creative director for the NRSC, was a video editor for Citizens United Productions. In his statement, Moran praised Huey and Valverde as “digital-media heavyweights.”

Murphy — a political consultant and director of the conservative blogger gathering BlogBash — was the deputy social media director for the Romney campaign. Murphy was hired by the NRSC in March to serve in the newly-created position of director of blogger outreach.

When asked what makes someone qualify as a “digital whiz” or “digital-media heavyweights,” the NRSC said it was confident in its recent hiring choices.

“As we announced at this year’s BlogBash help during CPAC, the NRSC will have a robust digital operation this cycle that conservatives can be proud of,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring told The Daily Caller. “We are always working to modernize and improve.”

In March, the Republican National Committee published its so-called “autopsy report,” which indicated that the GOP planned to take science and technology more seriously.

The RNC, which provides leadership for the national Republican Party, is expected to hire a chief technology and data officer by May 1.

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