The Kentucky governor’s race this year offers a case study in successful Democrat media strategy, particularly when it comes to digital.
Speaking at C&E’s CampaignTech Innovation Summit in DC last week, Laura Carlson, chief digital officer at the DGA, said that focusing on high-quality, non-skippable video advertising online is what helped Gov. Andy Beshear win reelection in November.
That’s partly because this captive online audience helped inform the creative choices that the DGA later made in its broader advertising effort in the state.
“Being able to use that as [a] testing channel was something that we found really effective in a state like Kentucky,” she said.
Eric Hyers, who managed Beshear’s race, has also noted how big a part digital played in the campaign’s success.
With the help of digital shop GPS Impact, the campaign took the zip codes and counties with the biggest variance between what vote share Beshear got in 2019 and what the average Democrat gets. Those areas were primarily in eastern and western parts of the state.
Over the summer, the campaign started running digital ads featuring “under-the-radar” testimonials of localized accomplishments, direct-to-camera endorsements from President Trump supporters and law enforcement.
“Things that we felt that voters in those areas would respond to well and we never turned that program off,” Hyers said recently on the Pro Politics podcast.
Those strategies worked. Despite an environment that initially seemed to favor Republicans, Beshear won reelection in November by 5 points.