2013 Louisiana Governor Election


In 2009, Terry McAuliffe, a successful businessman and entrepreneur, ran as a candidate for Governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The race included three candidates in a contentious Democratic primary. Ultimately, McAuliffe lost the primary to state Creigh Deeds.


In 2013, McAuliffe once again entered the race for governor. And again, McAuliffe found himself in the middle of a closely contested race. This time it was Republican challenger Ken Cuccinelli in the general election. The McAuliffe campaign effort featured a coalition of progressive organizations that put a premium on the use of data. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters, a member of the coalition, hired Terra Strategies to develop and implement a canvass program that would strategically target likely Democratic voters within the greater Richmond area. The greater Richmond area, which includes the counties of Chesterfield and Henrico, is an important battleground for candidates in Virginia. In 2012, Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by a margin of fourteen percent. Likewise, in the 2009 governor's race Republican Tom McDonnell beat Democrat Creigh Deeds by a margin of ten percent. The result, both Obama and McDonnell won Virginia.


The canvass program paired the coalition's data with cutting edge technology to micro-target voters with pro-environment messaging. Canvassers would be equipped with a tablet device, which enabled Terra Strategies to assign a unique message to each voter based on the coalition's data. These tablets served as the centerpiece of the canvass program. The program was designed to test the effectiveness of different message delivery methods to targeted persuadable voters. When a canvasser knocked on a door, based on the voter who answered, they delivered either a verbal persuasion message or using the tablet, play a short video. Voters were later contacted again to test message recall.


Terra Strategies dispatched program management staff to Richmond. Once on the ground, the staff secured the necessary infrastructure and began to recruit and train canvassers. Canvassers within the program received specialized message and technical training on a routine basis. The repetitiveness of the training ensured that each Terra Strategies canvasser could effectively use their tablet devices to deliver the right message to the right voter at their door.




Terra Strategies canvassers, in little more than one month's time, knocked on the door of more than 300,000 voters within the greater Richmond area. McAuliffe, with the assistance of the canvass program, won the battleground area  of Richmond 52% to 38%. In doing so, McAuliffe would beat Cuccinelli and win governorship by the narrow margin of 2.5%.