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Posted on Nov 19, 2016 in RNC

ICYMI: Chief Digital Officer DeFeo: Innovate or Die

Real Clear Politics
February 6, 2014

At different times in the last decade each party has held the decisive advantage in the use of data, technology and digital

media. For Republicans, it was during much of President Bush’s time in office, and for Democrats it’s been since President Obama’s first victory in 2008.

For the Republican Party to break from this recent past and quickly drive innovation that helps our candidates win elections, the RNC must be a leader in making this innovation possible.

Our strategy for achieving this has been clear: a data-centric approach to voter contact will enable Republican campaigns up and down the ticket to be more efficient and effective with their resources and ultimately win.

We’re investing in a permanent year-round ground game – putting people in local communities across the country – while we simultaneously invest in a permanent digital marketing and technology infrastructure. These aren’t two separate efforts but an integrated approach that works to make our online and offline voter contact efforts better and will help us earn more votes.

But success

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on this front requires faster innovation than what we’ve done in the past. It requires a new, start-up culture and way of operating.

That’s why the RNC has developed Para Bellum Labs, a unique startup which launches today. It is being incubated within the RNC and is designed to pull the party forward into a data-centric approach to campaigning.

Para Bellum Labs’ goal is to build the best political data engineering team and create data products and digital platforms to understand public opinion, engage voters and power elections.

Azarias Reda, the RNC’s new Chief Data Officer formerly of LinkedIn, and I are leading this effort. Working with our Chief Technology Officer, Andy Barkett, formerly of Facebook, we’re hitting the ground running. A five campus tour at some of the nation’s top engineering schools has already begun, and hackathons will be announced in the near future. Para Bellum Labs will fully participate in the technical and open source community, working to earn the respect of the people we will need to hire. In that sense, the competition isn’t the Democratic Party; it’s the Facebooks, LinkedIns, Squares and Googles of the world.

There’s much work ahead, but we’re confident we can achieve our goals. After all, in just a few short months, the RNC has been able to make great strides forward on the tech front.

Read the full story here.

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