Maintaining A Majority –

How PEFNC Helped NC Republicans Stay In Power

Background:

Before the 2020 election, the state legislature was in Republican control 65-55 in the House and 29-21 count in the Senate. Our in-state partners, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina and their separate IE PAC, played an active role in ensuring school choice supportive majorities were not only maintained, but increased even when polling and political pundit sentiment was that the majorities would drastically shrink, if not lost.

Challenge:

01

Maintain NC House/Senate majorities during a cycle where democrats expected help from a blue wave + record spending on the U.S. Senate race between Tillis and Cuningham.

02

Educate and persuade voters on the merits of school choice in spite of NC governor (Roy Cooper) promoting anti-school choice rhetoric.

Strategy:

5 SENATE RACES, 7 HOUSE RACES

Polling helped identify 5 Senate and 7 House battleground races where victories were needed for keeping majorities.

DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Due to the hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into the U.S. Senate race, TV advertising was too expensive, so digital advertising would be heavily relied on. Also, being able to employ high quality data for identifying and targeting an online niche voter audience made using digital efficient and advantageous.

PRO'S OF SCHOOL CHOICE

Digital strategy had to be twofold: First, educate target voters on the pro's of school choice.

PERSUADING VOTERS

Second, pivot to persuading voters to vote for candidates who supported school choice and mobilize them to the ballot booth.

Execution:

Audience selection was critical and it consisted of:

  • Voter files of modeled school choice families/advocates matched online

  • Online survey/behavioral data for identifying charter school supporters

Education phase - 60 days out from election using two messages targeting aforementioned audience:

 

  • Message theme 1 - Explainer on why school choice matters

  • Message theme 2 - Contrasting the candidate who supports school choice vs the one who does not

Persuasion phase - Leading up to the Election Day, compelling messaging was used to drive home school choice narrative and create a clear difference between candidates:

  • 27 different video messages were deployed across the 12 target districts

  • A key component of messaging was to support candidates who would use their power in the legislature to rebuff Roy Cooper's anti-school choice position.

  • The goal was to have target audience members see the videos ads a minimum of 10 times over 30 days leading up to Election Day

For both phases, the video messages were deployed using pre-roll and connected TV due to our ability to hone in on our very specific target audiences using those tactics.

Results:

12

Victory In All

Target Races

=

GOP

Majority Secured!

Target audience members watched the video ads through to completion over

70% of time in 11 out of 12 target races

WOW!

School choice champion, Senator Phil Berger (President Pro Tem) on election night

For the sixth consecutive election, voters made a clear choice in support of the Republican platform of low taxes, expanded school choice, and large investments in education and teacher pay. The Senate Republican majority will continue to deliver on those promises.

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