February 2nd, 2010
04:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Technology helps GOP to seize Kennedy seat

Sen.-elect Scott Brown's campaign used new media to help power Brown's upset victory in a heavily Democratic state.
Sen.-elect Scott Brown's campaign used new media to help power Brown's upset victory in a heavily Democratic state.

Washington (CNN) – Sen.-elect Scott Brown's new media director acknowledged Tuesday that the Massachusetts Republican's campaign was so inspired by President Obama use of 21st Century tools in 2008 that they made technology a major part of their campaign to help Brown win the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat 14 months later.

"Obama's campaign used it really, really well and it got a lot of coverage and as a result our activists read it and said 'Hmm, why can't we do this? "We can do this too,'" new media strategist Robert Willington said in an interview with CNN.

Willington and two of his colleagues from the Brown campaign were the featured speakers at a gathering of conservative bloggers and online activists at the Heritage Foundation.

Willington explained that the Brown campaign was at an organizing disadvantage in the heavily Democratic state and decided to use social networking services and platforms to build grassroots support and raise money

"We knew the odds were stacked against us," said Willington, who later added, "So when we first sat down, we decided to do things a bit differently."

The campaign created an iPhone and BlackBerry application – "Walking Edge" – that provided volunteers with the ability to immediately transmit information about prospective voters back to the campaign. This allowed the campaign to create a stronger get-out-the-vote operation.

In addition to "Walking Edge," the campaign used Twitter to issue updates on the day it staged a $1 million "money bomb"; purchased locally-targeted Google ads that directed supporters where to volunteer; established a social network on Ning.com that allowed supporters to organize amongst themselves; and an aggressive text messaging campaign.

Even though Brown has yet to be sworn in as Massachusetts' junior senator, Willington is already turning his attention to 2012.

"I've told Scott [Brown] and the campaign Election Day is in 31 months," said Willington. "We don't have any infrastructure other than what we just built and it was built on the fly, for the most part. But we need to keep the organization going . . . keeping them engaged and keeping them motivated is the next phase."


Filed under: GOP • Massachusetts • Scott Murphy • Social Media • Social Networking
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. gary davis harbor oregon

    na it was that COAKLEY didn't campain for herself and the democrats thought she was a shoe in .. stupid democrats . they need to act more like the rep[ublican sheep goose stepping morons ,that follow each other over the cliff for the good of the party . SCOTT BROWN is much like Palin one hit wonder , he apears to be an ok person . but he won just like most anyone else did , because he aplied fro the position and didn't have a good apponent . nothing to do with technology just like palin being the pick of the republican party anyone can be a pick fopr a run . and with enough endorsments and stories that the public will beleive . and you have a good chance to be elected . on the other had when america was ready for a black man to become president WE THE PEOPLE MADE OUR CHOICE and it was a great choice . thank you Mr Obama for becomming our president and I like most americans beleive you will do the right thing for our great nation .
    and CNN NEEDS TO LET IT GO AND BE SUPRISED just who wins in november . it won't be the party of NO this fall will be a final wake up for the republican core dip sticks :) change is moving forward not back to the cheney rove era of lies and threats :)

    February 2, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. p

    The seeds of defeat are sowed in the conquest.

    In this case the next Republican Great White Hope is a pro choice candidate and his win in Mass. has indeed reinvigorated the Republican war machine, but the need to stoop to lies, fear, and litmus test is a clear indication of the inherent weaknesses of the Republican party .

    I do suspect newly elected Senator HWH from Mass., unlike McCain, will NOT flip flop on woman’s right to control her own body. I think he is sincere and although we really do not know what kind of metal he is made of yet, he may have great potential as a leader.

    The kind of leadership that has the potential to rip apart of the fiscal conservative members of the Republican party from the extreme Right Religious, self proclaimed-Christian, fanatics.

    February 2, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. D.

    The trick is out of the bag, the magic is gone.
    No miracle Obama will be replicated better by desperate Republicans than by Democrats who will merely try to get the president appearing in their campaign!

    February 2, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    No, technology did not help, LIES and FEAR did!

    February 2, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Yeah, that was it! Better technology. That's why all those people voted Republican! It had nothing to do with the rampant abuse of their filibuster proof majority in the Senate spending hundreds of billions on ineffective legislation and pork projects while the rest of us have been cutting back because of a tanking economy. It had nothing to do with health reform that had morphed into a back room bonanza for hold-out Senators and greedy unions while costs increase for the rest of us!

    Okay, the use of technology was pretty cool. Good job. And have I thanked you today, Massachusetts voters?

    February 2, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Ruth

    Is he saying he tricked the people into voting for him. He's a dork

    February 2, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. jrzshor

    why does the media insist on calling the senate seat "kennedy's seat"?

    it's brown's seat now. start using that name.

    either that or elect the dead guy!

    February 2, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. sara

    It's amazing that President Obama has so much "smarts" that others are "stealing" his ideas.........but the guys "stealing" his ideas are the ones who are opposing him to get our country out of the ditch that they caused...........this sh!! makes you laugh and go ummmmmmmmmm.

    February 2, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I thought it was the nude sexy photo or was it technology that we were looking at.

    February 2, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Apparently in another aspect technology has taken a step backwards. In 1962 Teddy Kennedy won election to the Senate in a special election for the seat vacated by JFK when he became President. Teddy was certified and sworn in 2 days later. We are now 2 weeks after the election of Scott Brown, and the Democratic criminals who run MA still haven't certified Brown, nor will they until Feb. 11th, a full 23 days after the election. So why does it now take 11 times longer to certify an election than in 1962? Could it be because a Republican won?

    February 2, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. Runofthemill

    A good campaign - not good in the sense that he had good ideas, offered anything of value, just good marketing on the part of briwn - especially in completely snowing "The Base" into thinking he is a tea bagging tingfoil hat guy like them. Coupled with no campaign at all from the Democrat and this is what you get. A senator who will eiother become a Democrat in the next two years, or one who will be looking for a new job in 2013 when he loses to a real Democratic CANDIDATE - you know – one who CAMPAIGNS and actually pays attention to the election.

    February 2, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |