FWIW: No love lost for Liz...

Also inside: a new report on political campaign tech

This week, we saw Americans hoard gasoline in plastic bags, cancel culture-hating Republicans cancel Liz Cheney, and off year elections in New York City and Virginia starting to heat up. Inside today’s issue of FWIW, we have something for everyone: from a look at how Liz Cheney’s ouster played on Facebook, to a new report on political tech, and a recap of our first issue of FWIW Virginia

But first....

By the numbers

FWIW, here are the top spenders on Google advertising last week:

Two of the largest spenders on Google advertising last week were Republicans running in the recall election against CA Gov. Gavin Newsom. Perennial candidate John Cox, who has been hosting events with a 1,000 lb 🐻, spent heavily on ads featuring said bear and attacking Gavin Newsom as a “pretty boy.” Meanwhile, reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner has started running campaign ads online, spending quite a bit on Google advertising last week to showcase a recent interview with Sean Hannity. FWIW, while most of Cox’s ads target Californians, Jenner’s ads are running nationwide. 👀

We also saw that an organization with a laughably opaque name, the “Center for Organizational Research and Education,” spent heavily last week on video ads attacking President Biden on China. The conservative 501(c)3 group, also known as CORE, is running their ads under a brand called the “American Security Institute,” and pointing to chinaownsus.com. You can watch the ads here.

Nationwide, conservative groups far outspent Democrats on Facebook advertising last week. While the NRA may or may not be bankrupt, they continue to spend huge amounts of money on digital advertising. Already in 2021, they’ve spent over $470,000 on Facebook ads and around $500,000 on Google advertising, attacking what they call the “Biden gun-ban agenda.” 

… and here’s Snapchat political ad spending since the GA runoff elections. There was little movement last week, but Chuck Schumer continued to spend more on the platform to reach younger voters ahead of his re-election bid.

No love lost for Liz...

Republicans in Washington canceled one of their own this week, as their debate over whether to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role came to a head. As Cheney dominated the political conversation in DC, posts about her ousting also gained significant traction on Facebook. Pages from the likes of Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro stirred up a frenzy of Facebook users against Cheney, while the top performing post on the site mentioning the Wyoming congresswoman in the past seven days was actually from historian Heather Cox Richardson, coming to her defense. 

Here are the top 10 Facebook posts by interactions mentioning Liz Cheney in the past week:

  1. Heather Cox Richardson (Support)

  2. Ben Shapiro (Oppose)

  3. Dan Bongino (Oppose)

  4. Ben Shapiro (Oppose)

  5. Dan Bongino (Oppose)

  6. FOX News (Neutral)

  7. Bernie Sanders (Support)

  8. ForAmerica (Neutral)

  9. FOX News (Neutral)

  10. Donald Trump Jr. (Oppose)

Cheney herself continued to fuel some of the attention online by running the below Facebook ad nationwide for seven days promoting her anti-Trump op-ed.

During a week defined by several domestic and international crises, we’re certain Democrats are thrilled that congressional Republicans have been preoccupied with this Cheney drama while they actually do the work of running the country. 🤐

Inside the political tech boom

After an election cycle that saw campaigns use digital tactics and technology more than ever before, our friends at Higher Ground Labs have pulled together a comprehensive look at the state of the political tech industry. Among other 🔥 takes and data, the report estimates that in total, tech spending for Dems and progressives reached a record high of $3.6 billion in 2020.

Read the report

FWIW Virginia is here!

The Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman took some heat from Democrats this week by asserting that the Virginia Governor’s race could actually be competitive this year. Now that the Virginia Republican Party nominated their ticket of statewide candidates last weekend, and with the Democratic primary in full swing, we decided now’s the perfect time to re-launch FWIW Virginia, our newsletter tracking the online battle for control of the Commonwealth. 

From competitive House of Delegates races to the contests for Governor, Lt. Gov, and AG, we’ll be keeping an eye on what’s happening online in this year’s Virginia elections. Hitting your inbox every Thursday, click below to read the first issue + subscribe! ⤵️

See what's happening in VA

That’s it for FWIW this week! If you enjoyed reading today’s newsletter, forward it to a few friends, or share it on Twitter!