EXCLUSIVE: Jon Black leads a Republican data hub group that is "collecting every bit of absentee and early vote information from every state that’s happening right now."
Black is chief executive officer of Data Trust, which describes itself as "the leading provider of voter and electoral data to Republican and conservative campaigns, parties and advocacy organizations."
For over a decade, Data Trust has had an exclusive list exchange agreement with the Republican National Committee. The group touts that the deal "enables us to build the premier national voter file and combine it with consumer data inventories and individualized analytical models. Our right-of-center and conservative clients have access to data on more than 300 million individuals and a unique data warehouse that contains nearly 2,500 individual data points – including hundreds that are unique to the Data Trust inventory."
Republicans aim to win back majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate in November's midterm elections, and protect their advantages in governorships and state legislatures.
To aid in that effort, Black said in an exclusive interview with FOX Business that "Data Trust is going to provide all the background and foundational data information to these campaigns and to these organizations to allow them to make the strategic and important decisions that help them win elections."
"We’re the foundation. We’re the people behind the people. We’re the data behind the data. We’re constantly making sure that everyone has what they need from us," he added.
Black noted that Data Trust is "collecting every single voter file across the country, multiple times a year, and updating the new voters, identifying new phone numbers, connecting every single bit of absentee and early vote data."
It’s far from flashy, and rarely garners headlines, but the work that Data Trust does in gathering voter information is a key element to help the RNC, the GOP’s Senate and House re-election committees, the super PACs and nonprofits, and the campaigns determine who’s voting in any given election, and which voters can be persuaded to support GOP candidates.
Data Trust was formed as a for-profit company in the years after the blue wave in the 2008 election, amid a sense that victories by then-President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats were aided by better data.
"There was a growing sense that Republicans needed to improve their data operation as a whole," Black said. "The concept of using a for-profit entity to go ahead and do this, which allows us to work with many outside organizations, including the committees and the RNC, brought in more resources to us, which allowed us to create a better product."
While some Republicans have grumbled about Data Trust’s performance in the last election cycle, Black noted that "in 2020 we saved campaigns upwards of $500 million, by us handling the costs of going out and collecting the data, the campaigns and committees don’t have to go out and spend the money to collect voter information from the Secretary of State offices and county boards of elections."
And he pointed out that the winning Republican campaigns in Virginia’s 2021 elections used Data Trust’s absentee and early vote information.
Black argued that "Democrats hare really struggled to match exactly what we’re doing. They continue to try and have been trying for a long time." But he acknowledged that "we can’t let our foot off the gas because the Democrats are trying to catch up with us."
The Democrats in 2020 set up an operation named the Democratic Data Exchange.
"To say that Democrats have been trying to match Data Trust is misleading at best," Emily Norman, the Democratic group's CEO, told Fox News. "Data Trust itself was founded as a response to the incredibly successful data organizing of the Obama campaigns, which were organizing and targeting breakthroughs to begin with. What we’re building goes far above and beyond what Data Trust is doing."
Norman noted that the Democratic Data Exchange is "focused on giving Democrats the tools they need to run the most efficient and effective campaigns possible, and reach out to diverse communities across the country. DDx began as an effort to build upon the already sturdy foundation of Democratic data organizing, and so far we’ve licensed over 2.4 billion unique data points from over 450 entities – including the DNC and state parties, with more information and partners being added every day."
Separate from the exchange, the Democratic National Committee's DNC Tech Team's mission is to provide candidate, free of charge, the data and tools they need to run successful campaigns.