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ICYMI: "Portman quietly deploys web tools as Ohio Senate race rages"

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, the Associated Press highlighted the Portman for Senate Campaign's tech-savvy online operations saying, "Portman has made some of the savviest use this election cycle of its digital resources as his campaign has begun to unravel an early lead by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland." The report goes on to describe the Portman Campaign's use of Google in order to communicate with Ohio voters about the issues they care most about saying, "Portman's campaign, for instance, has created different audiences around the state, delivering each a different online message."

Portman quietly deploys web tools as Ohio Senate race rages
Julie Carr Smyth
September 27, 2016
Associated Press

Much of the work of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman's re-election campaign in Ohio is happening under the fingertips of voters. Google says Portman has made some of the savviest use this election cycle of its digital resources as his campaign has begun to unravel an early lead by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland

Through his well-funded campaign, Portman is effectively using data mining, YouTube ads and search promotion in his race against Strickland, a Democrat, said Lee Dunn, head of the tech giant's elections-industry operation in Washington, D.C. 

Most political campaigns use Google... But Dunn said the Republican's prolonged and varied use of Google's tools, while typical among corporate clients, is rare in politics

...David Niven, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, said Portman has had the advantage of deep campaign reserves accumulated as Republicans' seek to hold onto what was viewed initially as one of the country's most vulnerable Senate seats. 

"He jumped on digital even six years ago, because he knew he would have the resources for a full-throated campaign, and it's increasingly hard to find the voters watching TV when you'd like them to be," Niven said. "Both sides looked at Ohio as a proving ground and perhaps the Republicans somewhat more desperately, thinking if they can't save Ohio they can't possibly hold the Senate." 

Niven said TV viewers, especially those in Ohio who see an onslaught of television ads each election year, have become savvy at tuning out TV spots by leaving the room, muting the volume or surfing their phones during commercials.  Internet techniques are more difficult to avoid. 

Portman's campaign, for instance, has created different audiences around the state, delivering each a different online message. Search tools from Google elevate Portman's website, and sites negative toward Strickland, in web searches — and data mining allows ineffective ad message to be quickly pulled and replaced. 

"We met with Google's analysts and political team in January 2015 and committed to run a data-driven, tech-savvy campaign that would involve Google analysts in everything we do," said Portman campaign manager Corry Bliss. "Working with the Google team has allowed us to run and target multiple messages at any given time across Ohio and contrast Rob's accomplishments for Ohio families with Ted Strickland's failures as governor."... 


Background
The Portman for Senate campaign is running an aggressive, 21st Century tech-savvy campaign, which includes targeting millennials via Snapchat and Instagram. In fact, The Portman for Senate campaign was the first Senate campaign in the country to sponsor an ad on Instagram. The ad microtargeted students at The Ohio State University during OSU's first home football game last year. Other Instagram ads were targeted to different Ohio universities.


Since the primary, the Portman campaign has purchased numerous Snapchat "geofilters." The filters showed support for Rob Portman and reminded users of Ted Strickland’s awful record as Governor when Ohio lost more than 350,000 jobs, support for the Obama-Biden failed foreign policy agenda, and awful record on China. Recently, the campaign even targeted Democrats at Hillary Clinton rallies with Snapchat filters highlighting Rob's union endorsements.

Last month, the Portman for Senate Campaign announced it purchased over 30 Snapchat Geofilters across Ohio to blanket college campuses as students return to classes for the start of the fall semester. In addition, Snapchat users at The Ohio State University were able to show support for Rob during move-in day in one filter and in another filter students were encouraged to join the campaign as interns during an activity fair. In total, the campaign targeted over 30 different colleges and universities with individual filters specific to the school, with more to come. Images of the some of the filters are below.

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Earlier this year, Cleveland's WEWS highlighted the Portman for Senate campaign’s outreach efforts using Snapchat saying, "Rob Portman's campaign is really leading the effort here." Earlier this year, the Portman campaign was the first GOP Senate campaign to target voters using Snapchat and as Politico pointed out, “Ohio Sen. Rob Portman...seems to roll out a new Snapchat filter every week.” You may click HERE or on the WEWS video below to see how the Portman campaign is using Snapchat to target voters in Ohio:

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The Portman for Senate Campaign was the first Senate campaign in the country to reserve airtime through Election Day, placing more than $14 million in statewide television airtime and $1 million in YouTube inventory through Google's advertising network. The effort is using highly sophisticated targeting methods to deliver community specific content across Ohio.

The Portman for Senate campaign web videos, Bad Judgment and Dangerous received over one million views.

The Portman for Senate campaign is also using locally targeted online banner ads highlighting Ted Strickland’s failed record. You can click below for examples of each:

  • Collection one of former Ohio employers who moved jobs away from the state during Ted Strickland's term as governor.
  • Collection two of former Ohio employers who moved jobs away from the state during Ted Strickland's term as governor.
  • Collection three of former Ohio employers who moved jobs away from the state during Ted Strickland's term as governor.
  • Banner ad highlighting former governor Ted Strickland’s awful record on standing up to China.

Yesterday, the Portman for Senate Campaign announced that it surpassed 4 million targeted voter contacts. Since May of last year, thousands of volunteers and interns have knocked on doors and made phone calls – including to 107,906 during our last Super Saturday  talking to voters about the issues they care most about and why Rob is the best choice in the race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat.

Recently, The National Journal took a deep dive into the grassroots efforts of the Portman for Senate Campaign saying, “Ohio Demo­crats are now scram­bling in what was once con­sidered a top Sen­ate pickup op­por­tun­ity thanks in part to an ag­gress­ive grass­roots cam­paign by Sen. Rob Port­man that strategists from both parties have praised for boost­ing the first-term Re­pub­lic­an over his bet­ter-known chal­lenger.”

You may click HERE or on the video below for an inside look at the campaign’s unprecedented grassroots efforts.

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The campaign has launched seven coalitions: the African American Leadership Council, the Veterans Leadership CouncilWomen for PortmanSportsmen for Portman, the Hispanic Leadership CouncilSmall Business Coalition, and the Students for Portman Coalition which has college chairs on over 30 campuses across Ohio.

The Students for Portman Coalition, which is organized on more than 30 college and university campuses and over 200 high schools, continues to be an important part of the campaign moving forward with less than 50 days to Election Day, and we're excited to work with these students to ensure that Rob’s message and record of delivering results for Ohio families continues to reach every corner of Ohio.

The campaign raised $3.8 million in the second quarter of 2016 and has nearly 5 times more cash on hand than Ted Strickland's campaign. The campaign now has more than 14,000 individual donors from Ohio, representing more than 80 percent of the campaign's donors. Last year, the campaign raised a record-setting total of $9.8 million, a record for an off-year in Ohio and the most of any targeted Senate campaign in 2015.

The Portman for Senate Campaign targets Democrats at Hillary Clinton rallies showing voters why more than 100,000 union members from the United Mine Workers, the Ohio Conference of Teamsters, the Operating Engineers, and the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Rob. You may click HERE to see the flyers.

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