How GA-06 Was Won

How GA-06 Was Won
June 22, 2017
Josh Kivett

“Dem losses pile up with Handel win, complicating House takeover plans”
FoxNews, June 21, 2017

“GOP’s Karen Handel Beats Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia: Fiercely contested race was most expensive in history for a House seat”
The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2017

“Georgia special election: Republican Karen Handel beats Jon Ossoff in runoff: An energized Republican base kept Ossoff from accumulating a significant lead among early voters and doomed the hopes of the anti-Trump activists”
The Guardian, June 20, 2017

“DCCC seeks to rally demoralized troops”
Politico, June 21, 2017

With Karen Handel’s win, Republicans succeeded in protecting their 24-seat majority in the House as we head into the ’18 midterms.

The Majority Strategies team was proud to play a role in helping secure this important victory for Republicans.

Turnout for the special general election for GA-06 reached historic levels for a special election, and both sides – Republicans and Democrats – poured massive resources into a seat that many view as a bellwether result for the 2018 fight for control of the House of Representatives.

Over $50 million was spent in GA-06 special, by far the most ever spent on a congressional election in history. TV and radio were beyond saturation, both sides had massive paid and volunteer door-knocking efforts, and, with all of the various independent expenditure and 3rd party entities involved, duplication of efforts and targeting was undoubtedly a result.

In the midst of this historic onslaught of spending, with millions pouring into the race from California and New York to support the Democrat candidate, the Republican National Committee partnered with Majority Strategies to help persuade and turnout a highly targeted universe of mid-propensity, likely Republican voters who had not voted in the April 18th special election, but who had voted in the 2016 general election.

Because there is no party registration in Georgia, past voting history is often a key indicator for targeting. However, in an election as unique as the GA-06 special election, the RNC needed to turn out likely Handel voters who had limited primary vote history. RNC Voter Scoring allowed the RNC and Majority Strategies to develop a list of the best voters and households to target to boost turnout and help combat the wave of new registrants, infrequent Democrat voters, and independents that Ossoff and the Democrats were turning out, including via absentee and early voting.

Let’s take a closer look at how GA-06 was won:

Targeted Direct Mail
Our final universe of roughly 75,000 targeted voters or 55,000 targeted households represented the sweet spot between persuadable and turnout margin. These voters were hit with 4 direct mail pieces over a 12-day period with a mix of social pressure and anti-Ossoff/Pelosi persuasion messaging, which were amplified by RNC paid doorknockers, phones, and digital efforts. There was a heavy push to get these voters to cast their ballot early (May 30-June 16) as well as a strong reminder of Election Day (June 20).

Targeted Mobile Advertising
We added in an aggressive and highly targeted flight of mobile advertising for the final 5 days targeting an RNC swing universe of 47,000 voters with an anti-Ossoff message and a push to locate their polling place for Tuesday’s election. These mobile ads used persuasion messaging that complimented the RNC traditional digital advertising efforts on Facebook targeted at the swing universe of voters who we were confident were going to vote on June 20. 

Our team worked with the RNC to write, design, and place the mobile flight in under 24 hours, allowing the RNC to add much needed “lead on the target” to a universe that Voter Scores indicate was an area of concern going into the final weekend and Election Day voting.

Targeted Grassroots
Majority Strategies wrote, designed, and printed walk literature used by the RNC paid and volunteer walk team; one aimed at voters prior to the start of early voting and a second which included social pressure messaging to vote early.

Key Takeaways
While TV drove the media’s narrative on the “state of the race,” direct voter contact was the deciding factor.

The more granular and targeted direct mail, mobile, phones, and door-to–door efforts (which often don’t get reported on) are what determine the difference between victory and defeat in highly competitive, high profile campaigns.

It was as true in GA-06 as it was in the North Carolina Senate race in 2014 and Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in the 2016 presidential race.

The Majority Strategies team is proud to have partnered with the RNC to bring together the winning direct voter contact program that combined data, doors, mail, mobile, digital, and phones …

#WePlaytoWin.