Florida Democrats hire someone to play with ‘big data’ — but that’s the least of their challenges

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Kudos to the Florida Democratic Party for getting with the times and hiring Aly Sheets, a veteran of the Obama for America 2012 campaign.

In that campaign — and in Obama’s first campaign in 2008 — the Democrat’s use of data analysis to target voters, communicate with them and get them to the polls was widely credited with boosting turnout, especially of young people and minorities.

Sheets was directly involved in this use of “big data”, managing voter databases in North Carolina, training hundreds of staffers, and working in Obama’s campaign headquarters. Previously she did similar work in Massachusetts, Nevada and Virginia.

Good hire. Smart hire. But so what?

Is not being able to make better use of data on polls, voters and consumer habits what’s hamstringing Florida Democrats?

No, lackluster candidate recruitment and paltry fundraising (not mention good ol’ fashioned party in-fighting) is why Republicans control the Governor’s mansion, Cabinet and State Legislature.

“Big data” will do nothing to answer why the Democrats have few legitimate candidates to challenge CFO Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi or Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

“Big data” will do nothing to find someone to run in State Senate District 22, which should be fertile ground for a Democratic candidate.

Now, “big data” could help the Democrats win the top of the ticket, but it will be challenging, to say the least, to watch Sheets attempt to wrap “big data” around one of the least data-driven candidates in modern politics, Charlie Crist. Have fun with that.

Material from Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.