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Reports: Romney’s Voter Targeting Effort a Fiasco

by Keith Koffler on November 9, 2012, 7:51 pm

Reports are beginning to circulate in newspapers and on various blogs that Gov.Mitt Romney’s effort to target and move the vote to the polls was a technological and organizational disaster.

The supposedly super-sophisticated project, named “Orca” because Obama’s effort was also named after a whale that Orcas eat, apparently headed straight up onto the beach, rolled over, and baked itself to death in the sun.

Orca failed to target voters with the same skill as the Obama operation, wasn’t sufficiently tested, and broke down on Election Day, the only day it needed to work.

Ben Howe over at RedState charges that consultants who were supposed to be creating a well-oiled machine instead greased their own wheels:

So what caused the breakdown and why didn’t it get fixed in time? Well according to sources who worked closely with the program, the blame is at the feet of consultants.

Specifically Targeted Victory, FLS Connect, and The Stevens and Schriefer Group. While the Romney campaign did work with other consultants, they were apparently not part of the problem.

They say that the truth is the consultants essentially used the Romney campaign as a money making scheme, forcing employees to spin false data as truth in order to paint a rosy picture of a successful campaign as a form of job security.

John Ekdhal at Ace of Spades enlisted in the project and said it was nearly impossible to perform the central task of monitoring the polls to see who had voted and who had to be rounded up. His fascinating piece describes a freak show of errors, including being booted from the polling place itself:

People had been kicked from poll watching for having no certificate. Others never received their pdf packets. Some were sent the wrong packets from a different area. Some received their packet, but their usernames and passwords didn’t work.

The Romney campaign claims things worked overall, even if there were bugs in the system. But the massive Democratic turnout compared to that of the GOP suggests that for the Romney operation, there were bugs overall, even if there was some success in the system.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

gracepmc November 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I’ve seen a lot of this ORCA stuff and RedState loves to play the blame game on anyone who doesn’t meet Erik’s standards of whatever. So yes, they made mistakes. But the biggest mistake is 3 million Republicans didn’t even bother to vote? So effectively that’s a vote for President Revenge. Could a better ground game gotten them out. Unlikely.

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Chris November 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Just speaking for myself, I routinely received four-five of the same emails from the Romney campaign every_single_time they sent something out.

I sent them an email pointing this out (since I do have some experience in email marketing) and they sent back a odd response about removing me from the list (which never happened either).

Republican consultants are worthless.. not the first time I’ve seen them suck up cash and provide nothing in return.

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Susan November 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Noticed the annoying duplicate emails too. Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace come to mind as two of the most deceitful, backstabbing saboteurs from the 2008 election. If the current batch of consultants are as bad as those two, no wonder Romney lost.

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Keith Koffler November 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Interesting, Chris. And Susan – my theory is that until GOP puts up a candidate that is a true conservative, the type of dedicated people needed for a winning campaign will not sign on. Instead, you’ll get the “consultants” who are mostly worried about their position after the campaign and see the whole thing as a business opportunity.

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Susan November 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I agree with you, Keith. Our candidate must be a true conservative. John Fund just told Liz Cheney (sitting in for Hannity) that the next candidate with the best chance of getting financial and activist support will be the one who clears out the consultants who are hanging on like barnacles.

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Chris November 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

My guess is that they did this to initially bump up the numbers.. but sending out emails on that scale also costs a pretty penny.

I have only worked on a few campaigns (mostly building websites/marketing) but while I donate my time there is always some leech making 3k+/mo who does nothing but throw out ideas for a few minutes every month (and probably has 3-5 clients at a time).

Honestly, reading the above only confirmed what I already suspected about the Romney campaign. I’m seriously thinking of starting a site to hold these people accountable and expose them to the light. The good ones will thrive, the bad ones will find another career.

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Langley Spook November 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm

NO ONE from the Romney campaign, or the state Republican party ever tried to contact me. I had to go out of my just to get some Romney yardsigns.

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Keith Koffler November 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’m in Northern Virginia and was canvassed twice by Obama people before the sole Romney person I met made it to my door.

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JustSaying12 November 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

You really think a better auto calling system and a more personal email list would made Romney win the race? Its the not the messenger, it was the message. Simply put Romney and the GOP platform did not appeal to enough of the country. Im sorry but Karl Rove was embarrassing wrong on this election and Nate Silver was dead right. And what Silver has been saying is thevmap has its constructed right now makes it almost impossible for a Republican to win. Even if Romney had won by 2 percentage points nationally he still would have lost the electoral map most likely. Obama would have still gotten about 285 electoral votes.

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JustSaying12 November 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm

For Romney to guarantee an electoral map win, he need to win by three points nationally. The last Republican to win the presidency by mo then three points was George Bush back in 1988. GOP needs to rethink some issues and think outside the box.

And the abortion issue im sorry in this country is settled for now. 5 out of the last 6 popular votes have gone to the pro choice candidate. People in polls have shown while their “personally pro life”, that doeabr mean they want it to be illegal. GOP better stop using elections to
change people’s mind on abortion and instead win over hearts and m

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JustSaying12 November 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Minds outside of politics before any laws can be changed with the country. Btw how come pro lifers are so set on changing the law instead of peoples minds? What if abortion was still legal but basically never practiced because people didn’t believe it in anymore? Isn’t that better then having a society where it’s illegal but practiced in backalleys and dirty illegal doctor offices??

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Robin H November 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

When the majority of the large mainline churches support abortion, then it’s a very hard uphill battle to get people to change their minds against it. The rest of us just look like radical loonies. We’ve successfully taught kids to say no to drugs, but saying no to the one thing that can alter their lives forever (unwanted pregnancy, STD’s) we teach them to do responsibly? Let’s teach them to shoot heroin responsibly, they may do it anyway.

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Susan November 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Are we moving on from amnesty to abortion now? Please…we conservatives don’t sell out our principles to win elections. Republicans need to learn they can’t out-Democrat the Democrats. Santa Claus will just up the ante to buy off the bread and circus crowd. If you had an ounce of constitutional knowledge you would know that one man can’t change anything. It takes the will of the people to make changes to the Constitution.

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Chris November 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Honestly you need a good message and messenger. Romney rarely (I need to check) sent out an email that gave people taking points or addressed relevant topics. Obama’s team did so consistently and rapidly; I’d see a lot this repeated in blog comments, forum posts, etc.

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Sadie November 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

“The Romney campaign claims things worked overall, even if there were bugs in the system. But the massive Democratic turnout compared to that of the GOP suggests that for the Romney operation, there were bugs overall, even if there was some success in the system.”

Romney campaign should have hired ORKIN not Orca. ; )

Orkin’s tagline: “Keeping pests in their place for over 100 years”

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Keith Koffler November 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Orkin! Might have worked.

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Jeff November 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm

121,366,971total votes..Everyone here needs to thank Rosanne Barr – 48,797 votes, Jill Stien-396,684,Gary Johnson-1,139,562,Rocky Anderson-34,521,Goode-113,937 and Ron Paul- who knows…there was 39,881 other write-ins.. for helping seal our fate.thats a difference of 3,451,190 lost votes for pipe dreams..ad those to Romney would of had a net of 61,682,109 votes to Barry’s 61,304,426
hmmm

case in point: Gary’s vote in Oregon alone woulda thrown the state to Romney

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Keith Koffler November 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Peoples’ personal ego trips more important than the election . . .

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Sadie November 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

“Ego” trips don’t require packing or planning either. ; )

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Jeff November 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm

that and handouts… sad..

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CAR November 10, 2012 at 9:18 am

I heard a coworker laughing because she and her husband wrote in Donald Trump.

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Wendy November 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I never got a duplicate email and haven’t gotten anything since the election. I know I live in California sonI would not be getting calls. Having said that I AM THOROUGHLY DISGUSTED. VOTERS ARE ADULTS AND SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE REMINDED TO VOTE, HAVE TRANSPORTATION PROVIDED OR GET A PERSONAL CALL, GIVEN PIZZA ETC. IT’S TIME VOTERS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Shame on those people that don’t. Quite frankly if people need that much coercion to vote they shouldn’t be voting

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FJA November 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

My young-ish coworker got himself to the polls, voted and is excited about the results because now, maybe, “the president can finally pass Obamacare.”

Can we please stop praising this “millenial” generation for being so brilliant?

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