President Obama's 2012 campaign schooled Republicans in the art of digital campaigning—mining data about voters and tailoring pitches directly to them. Now, Republicans hope to return the favor for next year's congressional elections, reports the Washington Post. The multimillion-dollar plan involves opening a Silicon Valley office and staffing it with software developers. Former Facebook engineer Andrew Barkett is already in place overseeing things.
He and the RNC think they'll outdo the Obama campaign's effort, because that was focused purely on the president's run and not on other candidates. Democrats are now figuring out how to apply it to the entire party, but the RNC effort will make that a priority from the start. Barkett says it will be a "tool belt" for all GOP candidates, as opposed to the "locked treasure chest" of team Obama. One pro-Republican data expert cautioned Republicans not to assume that data is a magic bullet: “You can find all the voters, but you still need to determine what you are going to say to them.” (Read more RNC stories.)