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HGL Primary Debrief Recap

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After a packed primary featuring a diverse set of impressive, accomplished candidates, the field has narrowed to hold our presumptive Democratic nominee. These candidates ran innovative campaigns led by talented teams. There is a lot to learn from the programs they executed. As efforts turn towards the general election, Higher Ground Labs convened a virtual primary debrief to identify and learn from these key innovations.

The event featured seven lightning talks, featuring a total of 15 former campaign staffers and technologists. Each shared early outcomes of a program they helped execute along with their insights and suggestions for future experimentation.They focused on key campaign verticals like relational organizing, message testing, and supporter content amplification. 

Here’s a selection of topics covered in the session: 

Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered  the keynote and reminded  us that what Democrats have in common, and always have, is now at stake. Moments like this are vital in order to unite powerfully ahead of the general election. Now is the time for all of us to share our best practices and support a vibrant community of ongoing learning. 

Thank you to the incredible presenters and all of the participants that joined our presidential primary debrief! The fantastic lineup of speakers recapped cutting edge programs used this primary along with their learnings and suggestions. Higher Ground Labs is honored to play a role in convening the Democratic community in order to surface and uplift the fresh ideas that will drive our future wins. 

This event was off-the-record. I Follow the presenters, listed below. For general questions, email

Here is the list of presenters (in alphabetical order by candidate last name):

Team Bloomberg: “Recapping Our California Digital Organizing Pilot”
Kyle Layman, Senior Advisor

Team Booker: “Cory NEXT: An Innovative, Data-Driven Approach to Call Time”
Michael Fisher, CTO
Sunil Sadasivan, Deputy CTO, @sunils34
Annie Whitford, Director of Product, @anniewhitford

Team Buttigieg: “River to River in Iowa: Running a Relational Digital Ads Campaign”
Bridget Halligan, Director of Distribution
Maxwell Nunes, Director of Digital Paid Media, @nunesmaxwell

Team Sanders: “Message Testing with Volunteer Texts”
Ali Mortell, Deputy National Analytics Director, @AliMortell
James Slezak, @jslez

Team Steyer: “Squeezing more out of Facebook Ads”
Cameron Corda, CTO & head of technology and product team, @ccorda
Nicole Woods, Product Manager at Patronage

Team Warren: ““Influencer engagement” — what it means and why it matters”
Lee Sova-Claypool, Director of Influencer Engagement, @lee_gsc

Team Yang: “National Organizing: Leveraging a Distributed Volunteer Network for Ballot Access” presented by Zach Fang, National Organizing Director, Stacia Yim, Ballot Access National Field Director and Drew Corbitt, Distributed Director
Zach Fang, National Organizing Director,
Stacia Yim, Ballot Access National Field Director, @StaciaYim
Drew Corbitt, Distributed Director, @MrDrewC

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