DES MOINES, Iowa – The story coming out of the Iowa caucus win for Texas Senator Ted Cruz was the impressive data campaign that identified and turned out a record number of votes for a Republican. The man behind the campaign and that data system is Missouri’s own Jeff Roe (featured, far right), owner of Axiom Strategies based in Kansas City.
Roe has served as Cruz’s campaign manager for the senator’s campaign, as well as several members of Congress and U.S. Senators. However, his start was in Northwest Missouri politics.
Fox News Sunday named Roe their “Power Player of the Week” Jan. 24 in the lead up to the caucus, and before the contest, Roe told Bloomberg Politics he was confident Cruz would win.
Acclaim towards Roe shouldn’t be all that surprising. Roe founded Axiom Strategies in 2006 and since then, has built the largest direct mail company in the country, owning 25% of the federal direct mail market share at the end of 2014.
His firm has brought in 55 Polie Awards and 8 Reed Awards in the last decade.
“Direct mail is a key component of voter contact programs, and we understand that cookie-cutter direct mail is headed for the trash,” reads the Axiom website. “Every piece of mail that Axiom designs is unique and designed to break through the clutter, which is why our firm collected more awards than any other Republican mail firm last cycle.”
Roe predicted the night’s record turnout, and he also predicted that Cruz would win through grassroots organizing.
“It’s very primal, frankly,” Roe said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics. “After all the data, all the radio ads, TV commercials and fliers we mailed, after all that, it’s really down to having a conversation with your neighbor on how you’re going to vote.”
Roe’s data takes voter identification to a new level with increased coalition building and targeted strategic messaging.
That campaign strategy evidently worked. Cruz took 28 percent of the vote, with Trump claiming just 24 percent, even though Trump was leading in most polls of the state days before the contest. Rubio overperformed expectations and drew in 23 percent of the vote.
Cruz’s win also follows the trend of the last two Iowa caucuses, who voted for evangelicals like Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 (albeit the latter was by an extremely thin margin). Roe even told New York Times Magazine that they built up Cruz as an evangelical to gain traction in the state. Neither Huckabee nor Santorum secured the nomination those years.
Roe’s operation has developed into not only one of the largest in the country, but one that provides the widest breadth of political services.
Around the time of the birth of Roe’s daughter, Remington, Roe founded Remington Research, led by Titus Bond, which conducts polling.
Even more recently, Axiom started a digital print shop, led by Nick Schulte, who also leads the mail division.
Axiom has also expanded beyond political campaigns to provide business services in marketing, media relations, and public relations.
These tools, paired with the same data Roe works with on a national level with Cruz, will be employed with Axiom’s state candidates, which are almost guaranteed to appear somewhere on each general election ballot in Missouri in some form or another.
At the top of the ticket, Roe, of course, has Cruz. For statewide offices, Roe is on Team Hanaway, Schaefer, Schmitt, and Kraus. Axiom also works with Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard, the House Republican Campaign Committee, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, 5 of the 6 Republican congresspeople, 18 state senators, dozens of state representatives, at least 12 of 17 committee chairs, and many other new candidates who hope to take a senate senate seat. Beyond candidates, Axiom has taken on initiative petition of a the tobacco tax hoping to fund roads to the tune of $100 million per year.
Roe has had a longstanding sweet spot for congressional races which started with his involvement with now-Congressman Sam Graves. Roe started with Graves while he still served in the state legislature. Graves now sits as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit after terming out of his chairmanship of the Committee on Small Business.
Roe’s congressional roots have led to an 81% win rate for Axiom’s congressional candidates.
Rachael Herndon contributed to this report.