All Politics is Local: Introducing Congressional District Targeting for Google AdWords

In his autobiography, Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said “All politics is local”. With all 435 seats up for election in brand new Congressional Districts this November, that adage rings even more true for House candidates running this fall. Through the redistricting process that takes place every 10 years, every district takes on a new shape - with new voters. This makes reaching the right voters with the right message even tougher.

Starting today, in addition to targeting specific zip codes, we’re enabling an even more useful solution that allows political campaigns to reach voters within a specific Congressional District. 

Say you are running for Congress in the 6th District of Maryland - which features a highly publicized race between Ten-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Montgomery County businessman John Delaney. The 6th is located in western Maryland, and has been a longtime GOP stronghold, but was drastically reshaped by redistricting which has made it more competitive. Barlett and Delaney’s campaigns are waging a battle in the oddly shaped district that has voters in many zip codes, towns and communities.

Now, with congressional district targeting in AdWords, campaigns can quickly and easily target their search, display, mobile and video ads solely within that particular district’s border. You can start by heading into AdWords and selecting your District number from the location menu populated with district information in simple Google Maps format, prepared by Azavea. Build your ad and you’re on your way.
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17 comments
 
Now if they can just keep up with re-districting.
 
I wish all politics was local. When was the last time you heard of an issue that was only local, with no national coverage and no national party stigma hanging over it? People can't seem to think about politics at any level without painting the sides red and blue.
 
Oi. I can't stand my congressional.
 
Sounds like gerrymandering to me, redistricting to achieve a political advantage to a particular party.
 
Translate
 
Redistricting affects both Senators and Representatives: Especially those whose district boundaries change. Could mean the difference between an election victory and an election loss.
 
+John Gentile Senators are elected state-wide. Their boundaries are never affected by redistricting, so how are they affected?
 
The total number of voters a Senator represents does not change. But redistricting can affect who those voters are. Hence, redistricting could split some democratic voters in two districts affecting the outcome of the votes in each district. I think each Senator represents a half the districts in a state. A change in the demographics of a district may give one Senator votes that the other Senator of that state originally had. 

This is my understanding of redistricting based on what I've heard. I am not an expert on the topic. The only source I have does not give a complete explanation. 

http://www.fairvote.org/redistricting/#.UB_-XU0bI4g
 
+John Gentile Senators do not represent half the districts in their states. They represent the entire population of their states. That is true in every state, and I think required by federal law.

Redistricting affects the House, not the Senate.
 
A Senator represents half the voters. I was talking about one Senator, not two.
 
Many states have one Republican Senator and one Democratic Senator. This is where redistricting could cause one Senator to lose an election.
 
+John Gentile Do you mean State Senators (ie, Senators who meet at the state capital to pass state laws as part of the state legislature)? There are State Senatorial Districts that are subject to redistricting. But there are a lot more than two of them.

But not US Senators (which is what just "Senators" means). US Senators are elected for 6-year terms that are staggered into three "classes," with one "class" elected every two years. Every state has two US Senators, and no State has two US Senators from the same class (by design, so they at most replace one every two years). All the voters from the entire state cast their votes for the US Senate seat up for election that year (if any). Because the entire pool of voters from a state elects each US Senator, there is no such thing as a "US Senate district" to be rearranged and redistricted. People can change their party loyalty, but there's no way for redistricting to exclude an otherwise eligible voter from participating in a US Senate race.
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