The group was promoted as the Democratic Party’s future. However, it was not adopted by the Biden campaign and never gained traction after that.
According to those familiar with the plans, Hawkfish, the Democratic data company financed by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is closing.
At a Friday afternoon staff meeting, the information was revealed.
In an all-hands call on Friday afternoon, Hawkfish chair Gary Briggs announced that the project will be “winding down this spring” because he and CEO Josh Mendelsohn were unable to find a way to move forward that would “actually come close to covering the cost.”
Mendelsohn confirmed the news in a statement.
“Hawkfish’s leadership team started looking into alternative paths for the company’s future after the election and came to the conclusion that Hawkfish will not continue in its existing constitution,” he stated. “The choice to wind down Hawkfish’s operations was not reached hastily or without careful consideration of alternative options. The personnel will have a three-month runway to continue working for Hawkfish at will and be eligible for salary and benefits while they find their next job because the company anticipates winding down by May.
Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Bloomberg’s failed presidential campaign was primarily driven by Hawkfish. Bloomberg put $35 million into the business after he withdrew, according to one official, while it promoted its services to Joe Biden’s campaign. However, the Biden campaign decided against using Hawkfish, in part due to vehement opposition from progressives and campaign strategists who opposed outsourcing the labor.
Hawkfish nevertheless participated actively in the main election, working for three Democratic super PACs: Priorities USA, American Bridge, and Unite the Country.
The company concentrated a significant portion of its effort on Florida in the final months of the campaign after Bloomberg promised to spend $100 million to turn the state blue. Those initiatives also failed. Biden ultimately suffered a 3-point loss to Florida.
Mendelsohn thanked the team in an internal memo to workers that POLITICO was able to access for the “significant influence” their efforts had on Biden’s victory.
We predicted it, informed the media, and named it the “Red Mirage;” we embedded a number of our colleagues in the Biden campaign and powered voter registration and analytics in crucial battleground states; we carried out media buys for the Biden campaign in the final weeks of the election; we targeted and powered the historically successful virtual Democratic National Convention, and we served dozens of progressive clients across 16 states where we were successful in gaining their support;
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