A new tech guru for the Grand Old Party

Workers hang a banner on the parking garage next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum where the Republican National Convention was held on August 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

Today, the Republican Party releases a report, summarizing what went wrong for the GOP during last year's presidential election. A priority for Republicans is hiring a chief technology officer or CTO. And it's starting its search in (where else) Silicon Valley.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of CTO candidates well versed in social media and mobile platforms, but it may be tough to find one willing to give up a cushy corporate job and the salary that comes with it.

“It depends on the size of the company, but you’re talking, you know, $250,000 base and above,” says Kathy Ullrich, an executive recruiter in San Mateo, California.

Perhaps an even bigger hurdle?

“We’re going to want to find a Republican in Silicon Valley, right?” Ullrich jokes.

She is one, but there are two Democrats for every Republican there.

Harper Reed was the CTO for President Obama’s reelection campaign, and he says Democrats and Republicans had the same equipment, and each spent millions of dollars on technology.

“We knew we could not underestimate them.”

So why did the Democrats’ tech strategy prevail? Reed says it came down to personnel. There was a skills divide.

The Repblican National Commitee's new CTO will have to bridge that, and Reed has some advice:

“Hire someone very carefully that you know you can trust,” he says.

Someone who buys into the party’s mission, and maybe most challengingly, someone who is willing to move to Washington.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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