About 40 Republican digital operatives met behind closed doors on Thursday at the Capitol Hill Club, for a campaign post-mortem and a reading of the will.
Mitt Romney’s digital director Zac Moffatt and his counterpart on the Republican National Committee, Tyler Brown, listed the assets that the party would be inheriting from Romney's failed bid for the presidency.
According to someone who attended the meeting, the Romney campaign has delivered 1 million e-mail contacts from online donors, and 2.2 million new active e-mail contacts overall. Additionally, the party gets Romney’s data-management system and the infrastructure for their Facebook operation and mobile app.
Moffatt also disclosed that the campaign raised $182 million online since May 1 of this year.
The meeting, which was described as constructive and educational, examined the campaign’s online advertising, social media, e-mail list development, mobile apps, and the integration of the digital shop with other campaign departments.
An RNC official who did not want to be quoted by name said, “Clearly what we did this cycle wasn’t enough but we did a lot of good things with the time and resources we had and our efforts have steadily improved over the past decade. This is the first step in a multistep process as we lay out the direction our party goes with its digital presence and how we get there.”
The Republican inheritance of Romney’s data machine, the attendee said, contrasts with what the Democrats are getting from the Obama campaign. This is a reference to the uncertain future of the vaunted Obama digital operation.
At a post-election event on Wednesday, Andrew Bleeker, a senior digital adviser to Obama for America and president of Bully Pulpit Interactive, demurred when asked whether the Democratic Party or a particular candidate would get access to the Obama team’s data and insights for the 2016 race.
The big challenge for Republicans, the attendee said, is to take Romney's legacy and combine it with a new structure and plan for the future, including the full integration of digital with other campaign functions, such as communications, finance, and political operations.