Los Angeles Times

Improved campaign technology reshaped the midterm elections

WASHINGTON - Beto O'Rourke began his Senate campaign with low name recognition, little in the bank and a widespread belief among political operatives that he would finish his long-shot bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz where he started: in obscurity.

He ended up coming closer to victory in Texas than any Democratic challenger in 40 years.

More than charisma and a charged electorate enabled the Texas congressman to get close. Like dozens of other once-obscure Democratic candidates in the last election, he was able to catapult from also-ran to electoral phenomenon in part by raising record amounts of small-donor cash and mobilizing armies of volunteers. Technology played a big role.

"Things are possible that weren't really possible before," said Alfred Johnson, co-founder of MobilizeAmerica, an app widely used by groups on the left to organize volunteers during the

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