Cory Analytica: Controversial Group’s Colorado Connection Deepens

Senator Cory Gardner (R).

The Denver Post’s John Frank continues to run down the expanding story of the role of embattled foreign political strategy group Cambridge Analytica in Colorado’s 2014 elections–an election that for the first time in a decade witnessed something like real setbacks for Democrats who have dominated Colorado politics in recent years, with the state senate narrowly flipping to GOP control and Democrats losing the U.S. Senate race–easily the greatest defeat for Democrats since 2004.

In a prelude to what would come in 2016, Republicans in Colorado outmatched Democrats who had had their number for 10 years–and now we may know why:

The post-election report, first published by The Washington Post, also revealed that the company designed digital advertisements for two political organizations as part of a campaign to boost Republican turnout and help U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner defeat incumbent Democrat Mark Udall…

The document also reveals new details about how Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections strategized with Republican state Senate leader Bill Cadman to identify four seats the party could capture. The firm took credit for the decision to target the open seat in state Senate District 24 and the election of Republican Beth Martinez Humenik — a win that gave the party the majority. [Pols emphasis]

The firm’s post-election report describes how Cadman and his team were initially reluctant to target the seat, “but we were eventually able to use the data to illustrate that it presented a better opportunity for achieving a Republican victory than other options. This was ultimately the correct choice.”

There is still much we don’t know what the interactions between Cambridge Analytica and local Republicans, but this latest document asserts that the organization’s work significantly altered the strategy of Colorado Republicans in 2014 with the result of flipping a decisive state senate seat–as well as contributing to Cory Gardner’s narrow and demoralizing victory over incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

If that’s true, Cambridge played more than a role. They played a decisive role.

Again, the principal controversy surrounding Cambridge’s work to influence American elections is the use of improperly obtained social media data about millions of American voters. That data was presumably used to model and target Colorado voters in 2014, and in addition Frank reports that foreign consultants from Cambridge were involved in formulating Colorado electoral strategy, which may itself have violated federal law.

And within Cambridge’s report on their Colorado operations, one little side that made us crack a smile:

While the project in Colorado was largely successful, some issues did present themselves. This was particularly the case in the early stages of CA-SCL’s engagement with local campaign staff:

• There was significant confusion amongst local staff regarding the role that CA-SCL operatives would be playing in the campaign. This generated problems early on, and although these were overcome, making our team’s role clearer from the outset should be a priority in future.

• One aspect of this integration process that arose was the vested interest that some local staff had in using certain vendors. [Pols emphasis] In some cases this generated tensions, with local operatives seeking to restrict communication between the CA-SCL team and printers, for instance…

Apparently, Cambridge Analytica found our local Republicans to be kind of stupid–and that’s not all.

In Colorado Republican politics, it’s common if unspoken knowledge that if you wanted to get anywhere running for the state senate before 2016, you had to use Senate President Bill Cadman’s print shop. We don’t know if that has changed since Cadman left office as Senate President, but this delightfully corrupt little arrangement ensured Cadman stayed very well off indeed on his part-time lawmaker’s salary–and it doesn’t surprise us in the least that outside operatives found the arrangement a little weird.

In hindsight, the whole business looks bad–and with Cambridge Analytica calling the shots for Cadman and company to run with, it looks even worse. Kudos to John Frank for continuing to work the local angles of this enormously important national story. We assume there are many other such stories out there, but not every town has competent journalists to tell them.

And stay tuned, because we don’t think this one is over.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    "Not Everything Cory Gardner does is evil."  Just most of what he does.

    "Cory Gardner reflects the people of Colorado.  And it drives you libs nuts."  Doesn't explain why he has a 25% approval rating and a 48% disapproval rating.

  2. Moderatus says:

    Democrats do everything Cambridge does. Everything. You even pilfered the data. The real problem you have is that what they did worked, and the vaunted Colorado Model was proven vulnerable. Boo hiss says the liberal blog, but there's nothing wrong with any of it. I hope Republicans outsmart you again in 2018!!!!

    • unnamed says:

      Hey nutteranus.  What do you make of Connor Lamb (D) outsmarting Rick Saccone (R) in PA-18: a district your dear Cadet Bone Spurs carried by 20 points?

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Did you watch 60 Minutes last night, Fluffy? What did you think?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      You forgot, “guilt by association”, “due process”, and “STFU” . . . 

      . . . “boo hiss”???  What’s next: “neener neener neener” and “so’s your mother”?

      . . . tough Monday, Fluffy??!

    • You never responded to my last post on CA. Credibility is not you…

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Moderatus —

      I know it is probably futile to ask, but what the heck do you mean when you say " Democrats do everything Cambridge does. Everything." ??

      I read fairly widely, and have yet to read Democrats stealing Facebook profile data. Or pitching foreigners as decision makers for campaigns. Or having a CEO suggest getting girls from The Ukraine to offer a honey trap to political opponents, or conducting a bribery sting with those opponents. I have not read of a Democratic leader contacting Julian Assange for any assistance.

      So what is the "Everything" that Democrats match with Cambridge Analytica?

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    I wonder if Cambridge Analytica crack the race for Gardner by telling him that data showed that voters did not like Mark Udall's snarkle and constant talk about reproductive choice. So Gardner shot TV commercial of himself smiling and standing in front of a wind farm.

    I can see how Cambridge Analytica tipped the race for Gardner.

     

  4. taterheaptom says:

    FAKE NEWS!

    On my own daughter's well-proportioned frame I swear by God there was NO COLLUSION as these man-sized hands attest to there are "no problems there, no problems" believe me! 

    "We wouldn't be here but for that well-targeted "educational" work Americans F'd by Plutocrats parachuted in," as Mr. StainedHands Cad put it, to paraphrase but a tiny bit. 

     

     

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