Facing what was rightly expected to be a tight Primary race with four competitive candidates, Matt Caldwell was up against opponents with bigger budgets and aggressive media plans.
With low name recognition among all candidates, Caldwell’s campaign manager, Brian Swensen, knew his first step would need to be educating constituents about Matt Caldwell’s more conservative record and platform, while driving up enthusiasm for his candidacy for Commissioner of Agriculture prior to Election Day.
And, with Florida having one of the most active absentee and early voting populations, the campaign was going to need to act fast to get a competitive advantage to reach these voters before they cast their ballots.
This is Matt Caldwell, the Conservative choice for Ag Commissioner. I'm pro-term limits, pro-life, passed $10 Billion in tax cuts & NRA endorsed. Learn More: https://bit.ly/2whBnWo."
Swensen sought out technologies and outreach methods that would complement the campaign’s traditional grassroots strategy and enable them to maintain the one-on-one connection afforded by door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and mail on which their campaign strategy was founded.
In addition to a micro-targeted digital and barebones TV plan, the campaign knew texting was an emerging form of voter contact that if properly utilized could give them an advantage among undecided voters.
Already an i360 client, Swensen jumped at the chance to test i360’s latest technology, i360 Text. Taking advantage of i360’s highly targeted data, the campaign started by targeting Republican voters who had requested absentee ballots with texts scripted to inform those voters about Caldwell’s platform and ask their support on Election Day. Over the course of the next few weeks, Swensen and team would text nearly 250,000 Floridians in an effort to secure their absentee and early votes.
Next, as school began they shifted their focus, texting 20,000 Florida teachers to welcome them back to school, making a personal connection and driving up Caldwell’s recognition.
Swensen and the Caldwell campaign worked closely with the i360 Accounts team to communicate their product needs throughout the campaign. Thanks to the product team’s agility and the live, continuous feedback from Swensen’s team, i360 Text was developed into a scalable, one-to-one texting solution that would amplify the power of their other outreach.
As Election Day neared, Caldwell had been outspent on television and radio substantially. But, a big part of their strategy was to peak at the right time and, while much of the early polling showed Caldwell to be outside of the margin of error for victory (one even showing him down by 9 points 14 days out), they stayed the course maintaining faith in their original strategy.
With August 28th just around the corner, the outside polling showed the race a dead heat with the top 3 candidates polling at around 23% and with a similar number undecided.
With about 30 volunteers, the Caldwell campaign contacted a total of 566,747 voters in only 18 hours through i360 Text, ramping up in the final days prior to the election.
As the results came in, it became clear that Caldwell was taking the lead. Winning 43 of 67 counties, Caldwell secured 521,472 votes for a total of 34.6%.
Swensen had successfully executed a modern campaign rooted in the traditional grassroots strategy of personal connection amplifying conventional outreach methods with the latest in political technology. Using i360 Text, the Caldwell campaign texted hundreds of thousands of voters, making the difference on Election Day.
i360 Text was the perfect supplement to our campaign outreach. With a limited number of volunteers and funds, we needed a way to contact voters quickly without losing the personal element of one-on-one contact. i360 Text was that solution," Brian Swensen, Caldwell Campaign Manager.