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Tom Beckius for Lincolin City Council: Waking Up The Democrats!


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Tom Beckius was one of twelve candidates running for Lincoln City Council (NE) At Large. The campaigns were technically non-partisan although candidates did run under a party affiliation in much of their paid communications and both political parties did try to assist their preferred candidates.

Tom’s family had moved into Lincoln when he was six and Tom had lived in Lincoln ever since. Tom had been active in Lincoln–being the leader of the Lincoln young professionals group, a successful local small business man, and a board member of several area non-profits. In 2010, his husband and him bought a home together in Lincoln. Needless to say, Tom had strong roots in Lincoln.

Tom knew Lincoln.

Lincoln knew Tom.

Or so we thought.

In the non-partisan primary, the top six move on to a general election. The two Democratic incumbents finished first and second in the primary. The Republican incumbent finished third. Unexpectedly, Tom finished fifth, 1800 votes out of third. That margin between third and fifth was wider than between first and third.

In order to move to the top three, we had to discover what derailed a strong finish in the primary and fix it in the four week period between the primary and the general. Making matters worse, Democrats had never held all three Lincoln City Council At Large spots in Lincoln’s history.

We realized is that, unlike the two Democratic incumbents, we hadn’t sent a clear enough identifying signal to the Democratic portion of the electorate that Tom was a Democrat. And we had only a $5000 digital budget to reach a list of 29,724 Democrats to inform and motivate these voters.

We ran a display ad campaign to only Democratic voters featuring Tom’s husband. By showing that Tom was LGBTQ+, we expected Democrats would figure out that Tom was a progressive Democrat. By doing only display ads, the ads were not shareable and thus our Republican opponents couldn’t easily find and use the ads against us with their base.

To help ensure our display ads only went into Democratic homes, we used a cutting-edge Geotargeted Addressable technology offered by our DSP, The Geotargeted Addressable technology allowed our display ads to reach only the households on our progressive list right down to the address plat lines with a match rate of 93.58%. We provided a list of addresses that weren’t matched back to the campaign, which the campaign followed up with an additional round of robocalls to compensate for the digital advertising gaps. None of this is possible with IP or cookie-matching.

Our strategy worked.

Tom finished second. The two Democratic incumbents finished first and third. In total, the Democrats swept, for the first time in history, all three Lincoln At Large Council seats.

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