U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis hasn’t yet hosted any public events to kick off what’s expected to be a brutal 2020 re-election campaign. But his data team appears to already be hard at work.

The Thom Tillis Committee has bought four dozen Facebook ads in the past two months, all promoting surveys that collect names, email addresses and opinions on hot-button issues.

The ads appear designed to draw a strong reaction, which increases engagement. The Tillis campaign has also run several different versions of each ad, testing which one performs the best.

Crucially, all of these ads come cheap. Each one has had no more than $500 behind it, for a total of just $5,000 across all 48 ads, according to data from Facebook.

Tillis is joining the digital arms race.

The tactics are similar to ones used by Democratic campaigns to collect email addresses. Gov. Roy Cooper has used petitions to harvest contact info in the past. The Democratic campaigns have shared email addresses broadly to liberal PACs nationwide.

It’s unlikely the Tillis campaign is sharing the emails as broadly. But getting these emails gets Tillis access to an engaged audience he can target for get-out-the-vote and fundraising efforts over the next 18 months.

Cover photo of U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis by Gage Skidmore via Flickr (Creative Commons)

2 COMMENTS

  1. “The tactics are similar to ones used by Democratic campaigns to collect email addresses. Gov. Roy Cooper has used petitions to harvest contact info in the past. The Democratic campaigns have shared email addresses broadly to liberal PACs nationwide. It’s unlikely the Tillis campaign is sharing the emails as broadly.”

    Whew! I got worried for a minute that this story was going to end without a single swipe at the Democrats.
    Andy: You say it’s “unlikely” that Tillis–one of the top 10 recipients of national NRA money–is sharing his data as widely as the (amorphous) Democrats. QUESTION: Did you ask even a single person in the Tillis campaign whether they are? I’m not looking for names nor sources. Just questioning your methodology for some of the bias statements you make.

    • I said that because there’s no disclosure that 50+ political groups are signed on to the survey like there were with the petitions.

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