Liberty Works was hired to create an open-source voter data platform, meaning outside groups and campaigns would have access to the information for outreach and fundraising and also be able to build on it with their own applications. The RNC describes the goal for the shared data as “iPhone-like.”
Since the RNC announcement on May 1, Liberty Works has gotten off to a shaky start. Top engineers in Silicon Valley who have been looking for ways to help Republican campaigns question Boyce’s vision and say the company’s outreach is underwhelming — as are its salary offers.
The big risk for the RNC is that any delay or failure to keep up with the Democrats’ vaunted data operation could hurt their already uphill efforts to win the Senate next year and further cement the GOP’s reputation as behind the times in the digital data world.
Complicating things for Liberty Works is competition from other conservative quarters, including the Koch brothers, whose network has also been in the Valley looking for GOP-friendly tech talent to build on its voter data outfit called Themis, which cost at least $18 million to build in 2010 and 2011.Karl Rove is informally backing Liberty Works.
“[F]or all of Karl Rove’s fine attributes, he is also largely a direct mail guy who learned at the foot of Lee Atwater and never really learned anything after Atwater passed,” RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote earlier this month. “I’m just not sure, after the 2012 race, that this is a wise investment. Direct mail guys believe the data is the value, and what Team Obama discovered is that the tools to analyze the data are the value.”