Sen. Rand Paul, who heads to Texas this weekend for the South by Southwest digital festival in Austin, also plans to open a political office in the state capital for his RANDPAC political committee in an effort to attract high-technology talent, Politico reports.
Both Texas events – part of an action-packed four.days of political travel as Paul gears up for what is expected to be the official kickoff of his 2016 presidential campaign next month – also dovetail well with the Kentucky Republican's strategy of wooing younger voters.
Noting Austin's growing reputation as a high-technology hub, Paul termed the visit an opportunity "to bring some of the best and brightest tech minds in to talk about how we find our voters."
The South by Southwest Event – featuring everything from mobile wallets and flying cars to a "robot petting zoo" – highlights Paul's effort to win support from groups of younger voters that have tended to keep their distance from the GOP.
South by Southwest brought prominence to Twitter in 2007 and to the location-sharing app Foursquare
Cybersecurity issues took center stage at the Austin event in 2014, with National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange headlining the lineup of speakers and panels.
"We're always looking for new platforms. We're looking for new and innovative ways to get the idea out," Paul told Politico. "When you look at young people, if you put a television ad on Fox News or CNN, they're never going to see it. But under 40, particularly under 35, you've got to figure out where they're getting their news – on a Twitter feed – and through what ads and locations they're going to online."
Paul announced this week that he has "hired away the digital strategist who was a major asset in building the national profile" of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the New York Times
That strategist is Rachel Kania, who served as Cruz's statewide field director during his successful 2012 Senate campaign.
Kania joins Vincent Harris, who served as the top digital expert for Cruz before deciding late last year to join Paul's political operation. Both Kania and Harris will be based in Austin.
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