WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the
During a news conference, Rep.
The NRCC has made significant investments to bridge what Walden said is a gap between the digital campaign capabilities of Democratic and Republican operations.
"We realize this is not brain surgery or rocket [science]," Walden said. "It's computer science. And so we can get there, and we are getting there."
With eight full-time staffers, Walden said the NRCC had the largest data team in Republican politics at the start of the year and is making "progress" in bolstering its online operation.
Walden also pointed to a shift toward more sophisticated uses of data that will allow campaigns to hone tactics and voter contact. Talking about the party's data stores, Walden said Republicans have long had "a huge water tank on the hill" but that it was never fully exploited.
He said that by sharing more detailed information with campaigns, such as demographic data, those operations are able to view the race through a wider lens. Campaigns with the improved data can, for example, use it to predict different turnout scenarios, rather than focusing solely on the overall number of votes they need, he said.
"They can then manipulate the numbers to say, 'OK, what if I only get X of this? What does that mean in terms of Y of that,'" he said.
Although campaigns will focus primarily on local issues within each district, Walden said, the national context can't be ignored, including President
Throughout his remarks, Walden drew comparisons with the 2006 midterm election in which Democrats took control of the
In 2013, Walden said, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's fundraising outdid the NRCC's effort by $15 million, a gap he attributed to the DCCC's robust online presence and several events featuring the president, always a guaranteed fundraising boon.
But Walden defended the NRCC's fundraising record, touting 2013 as a strong year, with contributions up 11% from 2011 and an increase in small and individual donors. The committee came in under budget and over revenue, he said.