Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Did Newt Gingrich Lose Florida for Want of a Better API?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, February 2 2012

Salon's Sasha Issenberg has a great story outlining one narrative about Newt Gingrich's loss in Florida: He inspired a group of tech-savvy volunteers, but gave them no way to plug in to the campaign.

Here's a snippet from Issenberg's tale of Gingrich's swampland woe, which outlines how slow data systems and a lack of coordination hampered the candidate's get-out-the-vote efforts. The core character in his story is Michael Hendrix, a consultant and software developer who mobilized a group of 30 volunteers to Florida with a brand-new mobile voter canvassing tool that turned out to be incompatible with Gingrich's data structure:

The arrival of the bus full of Texans calling themselves an elite strike force in the days before the primary cheered the campaign office. It was a classic Newtian development—bold, unconventional, tech-driven—and it seemed to reaffirm that Gingrich really was inspiring grass-roots enthusiasm nationwide. Over lunch on election day, Hendrix reviewed the project’s numbers. His team had reached 48,000 voters, more than twice their initial target. But the information they collected went into the app and effectively died there, never merging with the campaign’s own databases. Gingrich’s campaign had no ability to follow up with identified voters, whether to reach the undecided with persuasive appeals or to target declared supporters with reminders to turn out. “We didn’t have a plan to turn out voters. We had a plan to ID them,” Hendrix said over lunch on election day. “It wasn’t because we didn’t have enough time. It’s because we weren’t working with a campaign.”

H/t KirkSeriousFace

This post has been corrected.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Upgrades

Obama tech veterans heading to Hillary 2016?; renewed calls for Obama to stop collecting Americans' phone metadata; FCC upgrades its definition of broadband service, finally; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Blogrolling

How Canada spies on its citizens' web behavior; with uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan quitting the field, whither political blogs; how big data is helping prevent homelessness in NYC; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Jargon Busters

Changes in the RNC's tech team; big plans for digital democracy in the UK; how people in Cuba are making their own private Internet; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Stalking

How the DEA tracks millions of America motorists; will the Senate enter the 21st century?; Obama veteran Jeremy Bird's role in the upcoming Israeli election; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Video Stars

How the White House hit a home run on YouTube post-State of the Union; why the Barrett Brown sentencing casts a chill on online security research; how media producers use Crowdtangle to optimize their Facebook audiences; and much, much more. GO

More