The Silicon Valley venture, led by former Bain & Co. executive and private-equity investor Richard Boyce, with Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy serving as an adviser, is part of a core team working with the RNC to develop a central digital campaign tool that all Republican candidates and organizations can use in future elections.
The Rove-supported venture hasn't been distilled into a legal entity, and participants say its mission is still being refined. But one executive involved said the intent is to create an interactive platform with multiple applications to digest the GOP's trove of data on voters, so that campaigns can better identify, persuade and motivate supporters.
The digital effort dovetails with the RNC's own quest to create a better repository of voter data and a set of tools that Republican candidates and vendors can use as they build their own campaigns around the country. People involved in the discussions say that the Silicon Valley group could end up being the organization that creates and manages the repository and related digital tools. What role the RNC would play remains undetermined. PACs and other outside groups may be able to raise more money for such an effort than is the RNC, because of changes in campaign-finance practices.
"We are working within the party to create a big toolbox that can compete in the midterms and be used by all," said Mr. Boyce, who was a significant fundraiser for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign last year.According to the RNC report:
Another consistent theme that emerged from our conversations related to mechanics is the immediate need for the RNC and Republicans to foster what has been referred to as an "environment of intellectual curiosity" and a "culture of data and learning," and the RNC must lead this effort. We need to be much more purposeful and expansive in our use of research and more sophisticated in how we employ data across all campaign and Party functions. No longer can campaign activities be compartmentalized or "siloed" in a way that makes sharing resources and knowledge less efficient.