House Republican campaign group triples digital team for 2014

Chris Moody

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday will announce its new digital campaign team in preparation for the 2014 midterm elections, tripling the number of aides focused on online advocacy.

The new members, according to a forthcoming memo from NRCC Chairman Rep. Greg Walden, include Danielle Varallo, who worked on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012; Chris Georgia, former digital director at the American Action Network; and Todd Carney, a former political advertising fellow at Google.

“I’m proud to introduce what is now the largest digital team in NRCC history—a group of operatives with expertise in Web design, ads, analytics, videography, graphic design, copywriting and messaging," said Walden in the statement. “Heading into the 2014 election cycle, the NRCC made a strategic decision to invest heavily in our Digital Department and we’re determined to help set new standards for Digital both on the Right and the Left.”

House Republicans in 2012 trailed Democrats in online fundraising, Roll Call reported on Monday. According to the report, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $49.3 million online last year, which represents more than 30 percent of its total fundraising efforts, and it ultimately outraised the NRCC in total by $28 million. In January alone of this year, the DCCC raised more than $1 million online, DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson told Yahoo News.

To help close the digital fundraising gap, the NRCC announcement will precede a series of new online projects for the committee, including a revamped online donation system, a newly designed website and a push to combine the NRCC's traditional communication staff with the digital team.

According to the memo, the members include staffers added to the NRCC in 2013 and some who worked for the group during the past election cycle:

Gerrit Lansing | Digital Director
Gerrit started out in Washington as the Features Editor for Heritage’s The Foundry blog. After roughly a year and a half, he moved to the Hill to work as the new media director for Congressman Peter Roskam. He then jumped to Rep. Paul Ryan's staff, working as his press secretary on the House Budget Committee until May of 2012 when Gerrit joined the NRCC as Digital Director.

Chris Georgia | Deputy Digital Director

Chris was the former digital director at the American Action Network and The Congressional Leadership Fund. Prior to AAN, he worked at the Minnesota State Party as Deputy Press Secretary, and was a graduate of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Business.

Cassie Alsfeld | Senior Digital Strategist
Cassie joins the NRCC as Senior Digital Strategist after being the Lead Digital Political Copywriter for the Romney-Ryan Campaign. She was an Associate at Carmen Group and a Legislative Assistant/Correspondent for Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao (LA-02). A New Orleans native, Cassie is a graduate of LSU, where she served as Student Body President and on the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Nick Marcelli | Digital Press Secretary

Nick is starting his second cycle with the NRCC Digital Department after coming on board in May 2011 when he graduated from American University. During the 2012 cycle, Nick was responsible for managing the NRCC's social media platforms and will expand his role this cycle as the Digital Press Secretary.

Shaun Ledgerwood | Videographer & Graphic Designer

Shaun joined the NRCC Digital team in 2009 as the lead Videographer and Graphic Designer. A graduate of the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, Shaun spent 10 years as the Art Director for an independent Republican political consulting firm before joining the NRCC where he’s earned several TELLY awards.

Ashley Craig | Media Resource Manager
Ashley begins her second cycle at the NRCC running the TV/Satellite studio and will begin assisting the Analytics team, specializing in SEO operations for various NRCC platforms. She came to the NRCC from Florida where she worked as an Executive Assistant for the political non-profit, ACT for America.

Jonathan McKinstry | Digital Strategist
Originally from the great state of Oklahoma, Jonathan recently graduated from The George Washington University here in Washington, D.C. He worked on Mary Fallin's successful campaign for Governor of Oklahoma, and most recently worked on graphic design at the RNC and for Congressman James Lankford’s office.

Daniel Abernathy | Web Developer
Daniel is originally from Texas, where he attended Baylor University and majored in International Studies. He worked as a front-end developer for Harris Media, LLC, a leading digital media firm, before coming to the NRCC. Daniel and his wife live in Arlington with their cat Banana.

Danielle Varallo | Digital & Press Coordinator
Danielle is beginning her first cycle with the NRCC, after working on Mitt Romney's 2012 Presidential Campaign as the Eastern Regional Field Manager within the campaign's digital department. Prior to the Romney campaign, Danielle worked in the Congressional office of Congressman Charles F. Bass as Scheduler and Office Manager, and worked for Former Congressman Mike Castle during his 2010 Senate campaign in Delaware.

Todd Carney | Digital Intern
Todd is beginning his first cycle at the NRCC and will be working with online ads and analytics. Last election cycle, Todd worked with numerous Republican campaigns at Google. Todd is a native of Glenview, Illinois and has interned for the Republican Governor's Association and Senator Mark Kirk's campaign.