The voter data firm Labels & Lists has acquired Voter Contact Services, one of its top competitors. It marks a major expansion for the Washington State-based firm headed by Bruce Willsie.
Labels & Lists will make an official announcement about the VCS acquisition next week. The firm is not disclosing terms of the sale.
VCS was founded by the late Bill Daly—a computer programmer who began developing software to better manage voter files in the early 1970s. Known throughout the industry as an innovator, it was Daly who first developed many of the basic voter analysis and targeting techniques that transformed the way campaigns think about voter contact.
“It’s a very exciting development for us,” Willsie told C&E. “I think our firms were just a natural fit.”
With its senior management team poised to retire, VCS began looking for an industry partner in earnest over the past year. VCS President Glenda Hughes will play a role in the firm’s transition.
“Our firms have both had great respect for one another over the years,” said Willsie, who counts himself as a “great admirer” of the late VCS founder Daly. “We’ve competed hard, but fairly, over the years. And I think they appreciated that.”
Willsie expects the firm’s expansion will better position Labels & Lists to serve clients in an increasingly competitive sector of the campaign industry that includes firms like Aristotle, Catalist and NGP-VAN.
Four Hawaii-based VCS employees will remain with Labels & Lists, as will the firm’s two person California-based sales team. Labels & Lists plans to phase out the VCS name over the course of the next year.
With the acquisition, Labels & Lists now boasts a national voter file and expanded offerings of state-based data. The firm also recently launched VoterMapping.com, an online platform that offers quick analysis of millions of voter records.