Digital Strategy in a Recount: The Secret Ingredient Your Campaign Needs
April 2021 | by Anthony Pileggi
“As a national Republican wave crested on Election Day, there were several campaigns in both parties that stood out as outstanding operations.
The GOP expanded its House majority and obtained control of the Senate. As a result, more Republican campaigns emerged deserving of the spotlight. But there were also several Democratic operations worthy of recognition.
Roll Call has compiled a list of the cream of the crop of 2014. Many faced long odds, crowded primaries, an unpopular president and millions in targeted attack ads. But through all that and more, these campaigns ably managed the curves of the cycle — and all but one were victorious. …
Rep.-elect Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va.
For the first time in at least a decade, Republicans were all-in to take down Rep. Nick J. Rahall II.
Outside spending, plummeting approval ratings for Obama and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito at the top of the ticket helped. But national Republicans pointed to their candidate, state Sen. Evan Jenkins, and his team as running one of the best campaigns on the map.
Their task was to break the 38-year-long bond southern West Virginia voters had with Rahall. To do so, Andy Sere of DMM Media ran an ad campaign that chipped away at Rahall’s credibility, while also flowing with the case that conservative outside groups were making on the airwaves as well.
“The progression of the TV ads that they did was something that was the best that I’ve seen,” a national GOP operative said.
Also notable: Jenkins, a former Democrat, switched parties before declaring his campaign — and managed to avoid a primary. …
Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
Even this cycle, Stefanik’s 22-point victory in an upstate district Obama carried is remarkable. Now also consider where she started.
After recently moving back to the North Country to work for her family’s supply company, Stefanik started her campaign from scratch against a popular and proven Democrat, Rep. Bill Owens, in the late summer of 2013. The former Washington, D.C., operative quickly raised big bucks while she criss-crossed the expansive district, connecting with local party leaders initially caught off-guard by her youth.
When Owens decided not to seek re-election, the race changed drastically. But Stefanik adeptly navigated a primary with the GOP’s former nominee, wealthy attorney Matt Doheny — no small feat in a New York primary. Stefanik later clobbered another deep-pocketed opponent, Democrat Aaron Woolf, in November. Her campaign team, including general consultant Phil Musser, capitalized on Woolf’s many missteps, while she ran a nearly flawless race. Stefanik is now considered one of the most promising Republicans in the Empire State.
Also notable: The 30-year-old developed appealing messaging early in the race that played up her age as “new generation of ideas.” She’s now the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.”
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