By Alex Roarty
McClatchy Washington Bureau
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In an election where the party earned overwhelming support for women and benefited from a surge of female candidates, the team analyzing the numbers behind-the-scenes was also led by three women.
The hour was growing late one March night and still neither party knew who had won a key special election in Pennsylvania, where only a few thousand votes separated the candidates.
So Dan Sena, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turned to his chief number-cruncher for answers.
He handed her a note that showed how many absentee ballots each county had yet to count in the race between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone.
“I took the Post-It note, and with some number-crunching and math, found we would probably gain 300 votes,” Claire Low, the DCCC’s targeting and analytics director, would say months later.
Sena would soon publicly declare victory, catching reporters and political operatives by surprise in a contest that still looked too close to call. But he knew the members of his data and analytics team understood the numbers and trusted them to make the right call.
It wouldn’t be the last time that they would prove him right.
At every step of the 2018 election, House Democrats at the DCCC relied heavily on a data and analytics team that guided the committee through two years of tumultuous politics and an ever-fluctuating path back to the majority.
The results speak for themselves: Democrats gained 40 House seats, a gargantuan total for a party once hoping to simply eke out 23 seats necessary for a majority. They were the party’s largest House gains in a single campaign since 1974.
DCCC officials were also delighted that, in an election where the party earned overwhelming support for women and benefited from a surge of female candidates, the team analyzing the numbers behind-the-scenes was also led by three women: Rosa Mendoza, who ran the analytics team at the group’s independent expenditure operation, Amber Carrier, the group’s director of polling and modeling, and Low, the targeting director.