Markets & Economy

Political strategists give Realtors a peek into 2016 election

Donna Brazile and Ed Gillespie talk social media, data and analytics, and voter apathy

WASHINGTON -- The 1 million-member National Association of Realtors is a heavyweight in national politics. But political campaigns aren't won like they used to be. Just as in real estate, social media and data analytics have changed the way campaigns are run today, according to political strategists speaking Tuesday at NAR's midyear conference, the Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Ed Gillespie, chair of the Republican National Committee, ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia in the fall, losing by a mere 0.8 percentage-point margin to Democrat Mark Warner. Gillespie, a former counselor to President George W. Bush, credited his almost-victory to social media. Despite being heavily outspent, he was able to gain momentum through Facebook and Twitter, he said. "Social media was a great equalizer for me," Gillespie told conference attendees this morning. "I lost by less than four votes per precinct," he added. Social media has had a big impact in t...