Apr 24, 2018

The GOP's digital targeting strategy for Arizona special election

Republicans hope the digital targeting will help GOP candidate Debbie Lesko (right) defeat Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni (left). Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Republicans' strategy for today's special House election in Arizona was to target digital ads to GOP early voters — and it appears to have paid off, with the share of early voters from each party about on par with the past few cycles.

Why it matters: Although the district is deep red and isn't expected to flip, this counters the trend of high Democratic turnout and depressed GOP turnout in other special elections. Micro-targeting voters and digital ads are also part of a larger Republican strategy to protect the House in November.

The strategy: The Congressional Leadership Fund — a political action committee allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan — partnered with Cavalry, a consulting firm founded by former aides to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to run the digital advertising campaign in Arizona.

  • They spent only $65,000 on ads reaching an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 voters on the district's permanent early voter list. Voters on the list saw the ads over 50 times on average over the past month, and more than 18,000 clicked the ads to find their poll location, per Cavalry.
  • "By efficiently targeting this list online, we were able to quietly bank votes" for Republican candidate Debbie Lesko, said Cavalry's Michael Duncan.
  • It’s a tough political environment right now for Republicans, “but by being smart and using the data that’s available, we can make sure we’re not leaving any votes on the table,” he said.

By the numbers: As of four days ago, 48.3 percent of ballot returns were for Republicans and 27.8 percent were for Democrats. At the same point in the 2016 election cycle, 46.7 percent of returns were for Republicans and 27 percent for Democrats, per data analysis firm Data Orbital.

The bigger picture: CLF announced a $10 million digital advertising buy last week, which will be spread across 30 districts. "By placing an emphasis on a hyper-targeted digital effort, CLF was able to focus on turning out key voters," executive director Corry Bliss said, adding that "CLF has placed a high priority on digital targeting for the 2018 cycle."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.