Political Animals

Meet the Tech Nerds Trying to Get Mitt Romney (and Others) Elected

In which politicians sound a lot like shoes on Zappos.
 Meet the Tech Nerds Trying to Get Mitt Romney (and Others) Elected

Canvassing means no AC. (Photo: flickr.com/labor2008

Now, what does this sound like to you?

One recent morning, 14 job candidates filed into his fourth-floor office in Alexandria, Virginia, where a wiffle ball net is stowed in the lobby and a pirate flag hangs in the conference room. How many might he hire? “Fourteen, if we like them all,” he said.

If you guessed “a venture-backed consumer Internet startup,” you are incorrect. (Thanks for playing; better luck next time.)

That sentence was written by Bloomberg regarding Targeted Victory, which is not, as you might expect from that name, a maker of drones but rather a tech startup / political consulting firm, working to help elect Mitt Romney president.

And it looks like that company sure has stumbled onto a lucrative niche:

Federal candidates and super-PACs have spent more than $46 million so far this election cycle for the services of just three firms — Targeted Victory and the two major Democratic tech operations, Blue State Digital and Bully Pulpit Interactive, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of Federal Election Commission reports conducted for Bloomberg News.

And what are the various political campaigns getting in exchange for all that cash? Glad you asked. Companies help with things like, oh, online advertising and digital databases and social media and such. You know, your basic product peddling:

“Every online technique used by Fortune 500 companies will be in the hands of politicians in the next four to eight years.”

We should probably be very concerned about the more Orwellian implications of this. But mostly we’re wondering whether this means Mitt Romney’s face is about to start following us around the Internet like that Lands’ End dress we looked at last week.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com