Tags: Trump Administration | digital | GOP | lacking

Experts: GOP Digital Talent Gap Needs to Close by 2016

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 10:05 PM

The GOP has a "massive" digital talent gap going into the 2016 presidential race, experts say.

While President Barack Obama’s highly touted campaign tech capacity can transfer right to Hillary Clinton if she decides to run, the experts in the GOP are scattered in a dozen or more campaigns, Politico reports.

"There is a massive talent gap," Wesley Donehue, a South Carolina-based GOP digital strategist told Politico.

"Half those campaigns will have digital staff that don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They’ll end up with some dude who plays on Facebook all day, which somehow makes him a digital expert."

According to Politico, several tech savvy Republicans say they're already in talks with potential candidates and their top advisers about possible jobs.

"It’s jostling behind the scenes," Guy Harrison, former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who works for a GOP consulting firm with ties to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, told Politico.

Aware of their tech shortcomings heading into 2016, Republicans have been trying in recent years to bulk up, Politico reports.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie raised money last year at Mark Zuckerberg’s Silicon Valley house, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has been on several West Coast trips developing ties with techies, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Politico reports

The Republican National Committee’s digital team expanded after Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss and has some 50 tech staffers; a satellite RNC branch also opened last year in Silicon Valley, headed by former Facebook engineer Andy Barkett, Politico reports.

In Washington, RNC Chief Digital Officer Chuck DeFeo could be a top candidate to manage a presidential campaign’s digital team, perhaps working for Jeb Bush if the former Florida governor runs, Politico notes.

But DeFeo, who served as a digital lead on President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, is just a year into his current position at the RNC developing its tech efforts, and sources told Politico he's inclined to stay put.

"This committee has to show up for whoever our nominee is," he told Politico. "I’ve given 2016 a lot of thought. It’s what this infrastructure is in place for."

Romney and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan both maintain strong ties to Targeted Victory, which is led by their campaign’s former digital director and has 100 staffers and $10 million in tech investments over the past three years.

Other firms likely to be in the mix for 2016 business include Something Else Strategies, a South Carolina-based firm with ties to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that produced Iowa Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst’s campaign commercial about hog castration, Politico reports.

A Rubio-affiliated PAC has also paid for data analysis from the D.C.-based firm Optimus, and Christie has used the digital firm Campaign Grid, Politico reports

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rob Portman of Ohio both are customers of Vincent Harris, an Austin-based digital consultant has also previously worked with both Mike Huckabee and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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The GOP has a massive digital talent gap going into the 2016 presidential race, experts say. While President Barack Obama's highly touted campaign tech capacity can transfer right to Hillary Clinton if she decides to run, the experts in the GOP are scattered in a dozen or...
digital, GOP, lacking
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2014-05-22
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 10:05 PM
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