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Comeback Kid?

The Best-Laid Free Media Plan of Marco Rubio

His campaign used data to try to put the candidate in front of the right voters. He realized too late that he couldn't get there without hurling insults.
Bloomberg business news

Trump, Rubio and the Difficult Choice for the GOP


On Tuesday morning, just as polls were opening across the 11 Super Tuesday states, Terry Sullivan, Marco Rubio’s campaign manager, invited donors to the campaign’s Capitol Hill headquarters to give them an early look at the future. Sullivan’s PowerPoint presentation included a section entitled “March Delegate Math Projections,” which laid out three possibilities of where the Republican nominating contest could end up by the end of the month. One scenario envisioned the current five-man race, with candidates moving forward at their existing support levels. As if a corrective to what he conceded would be a lugubrious night, Sullivan promised rosier possibilities ahead.

Two miles away, at the downtown Washington office of 0ptimus, the Washington consulting firm to which Rubio has outsourced his data operation, a large spreadsheet titled “March Madness” quantified just how bad things could get before they got any better. Partners Scott Tranter and Brian Stobie had put in place a system to monitor Rubio’s standing in each of the 107 congressional districts nationwide whose results that month could have an impact on delegate allocation. It amounted to a massively dispersed survey project, simultaneously polling voters in six times as many as districts are typically contested in any given November. By Monday morning, it was clear that any good news was likely to come from Minnesota.