Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign has made two key new hires, bringing on two veteran digital strategists into high-level roles in the campaign, a spokeswoman confirmed exclusively to msnbc.
Madeleine Perry is joining the O’Malley campaign as digital director. Perry was formerly the digital director for Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, where she managed the senator’s digital and social media strategy. She is a veteran in the digital political space, and her résumé includes work for the Democratic National Committee and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Additionally, the O’Malley campaign has also hired Ian Ferguson to serve as director of data and analytics. Ferguson served as national regional data director for the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and also has worked on data and analytics for a number of private firms.
O’Malley’s digital team has a battle ahead of them to generate more buzz about their candidate on social media than his Democratic opponents, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. According to data provided by Facebook, 84,000 people on Facebook generated 120,000 interactions related to O’Malley on the day of his announcement. Compare that to Clinton, who had 4.7 million people generating over 10.1 million interactions related to her on the day of her April 13 announcement — and even Bernie Sanders, who had 592,000 people generating over 1.2 million interactions related to him on the day of his April 30 announcement.
But the campaign has already been finding ways to set themselves apart in the digital space — O’Malley is one of the few 2016 candidates actively using Snapchat, the messaging platform popular with millennials and teenagers. The campaign used the app to tease O’Malley’s May 30 campaign announcement in Baltimore and has continued to use it to share behind-the-scenes moments on the campaign trail with Snapchat users. It's an early indicator that the O'Malley campaign seems willing to experiment with new platforms, and Perry's hiring will likely help shape a stronger digital strategy going forward.