Glenn Jacobs for Mayor: Wrestling with Low Turnout
“Off-cycle” elections with low turnout
When Glenn Jacobs stepped into the political ring in late summer 2017, formally announcing he would seek the Mayor’s office of Knox County, TN, his campaign knew they would be facing an uphill battle. The former professional wrestling star joined a crowded Republican primary field which included two well-known candidates already serving in county elected office, as well as a looming general election opponent if Jacobs were to win the primary.
Tennessee local elections, like many localities across the United States, do not follow the federal election calendar. These “off-cycle” elections traditionally have lower voter turnout and increase the difficulty for candidates to engage and energize potential supporters. Further complicating the situation was the fact Knox County had not experienced a competitive mayoral election in recent memory, making it more difficult for the campaign to identify individuals likely to vote.
The Jacobs campaign was in uncharted territory. They needed a way to identify likely voters, engage these voters, and ensure they followed through by going to the polls to support Glenn.
”Understanding the challenge they faced, Glenn and his campaign got in touch with i360, who presented them with the solution they were looking for – a deep, robust database with fully-integrated, closed-loop technology, all at a price affordable for a mayoral campaign.
Reaching more voters with the i360 walk app
Understanding the challenge they faced, Glenn and his campaign got in touch with i360, who presented them with the solution they were looking for – a deep, robust database with fully-integrated, closed-loop technology, all at a price affordable for a mayoral campaign.
Using a combination of i360’s voter data, consumer data, and predictive models, the Jacobs campaign identified voters who were likely to vote based on their historical voting record and potential voters who were likely to vote in an off-cycle election despite not having done so previously. With 1,800+ data points on every voter, the campaign had a treasure trove of data at its disposal to make these difficult targeting decisions.
Glenn and his campaign knew the most impactful way to use i360’s sophisticated targeting was to engage potential voters on their doorstep. Using i360’s best-in-class walk application, i360 Walk, the Jacobs campaign was able to quickly plan and execute its canvassing efforts. The i360 walk app was the backbone of Jacobs’ campaign effort. Over the course of both the primary and general elections, they knocked on the doors of more than 55,000 voters.
Driving higher turnout
The strategy of increasing voter turnout and expanding the local primary voter base in the May election proved successful. Overall, the raw vote total for the mayor increased by 16% over the last contested mayoral primary election. Glenn, facing the headwind of two well-known primary opponents, was able to edge out his closest opponent by only 16 votes.
Glenn carried his success and data-driven strategy to the general election, where he grew his victory margin significantly and bested his Democrat opponent by more than 30% of the vote with a 30% increase in overall voter turnout.
“i360’s data gave us a significant targeting edge over my opponents. i360’s product suite, specifically the i360 Walk app, made it possible to efficiently and effectively put that targeting into action.” – Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Knox County, TN