For-profit

Campaign Sidekick LLC

Website:

campaignsidekick.vote

Founded:

2012

Status:

For-Profit

Type:

Campaign technology and voter outreach

CEO:

Drew Ryun

Campaign Sidekick LLC, also known as Sidekick, is a campaign vendor that provides voter outreach databases and software. According to Sidekick chief executive officer Drew Ryun, he started the firm to address issues he encountered while working on campaigns during the 2002 primary election season. [1] The firm, which is based out of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, markets itself as a “preferred vendor” of the Republican Party nationwide. [2]

In March 2020, a digital security firm identified a liability in the code of a Sidekick app which left databases with voters’ private information, including names, addresses, voting and political contribution history, and Facebook contacts. Sidekick announced that it addressed the issue, but TechCrunch characterized the company as acknowledging that “the credentials in the exposed code could have been used to access its databases storing user and voter data.” [3]

Activity

During the 2020 election cycle, Campaign Sidekick earned at least $3.2 million from providing its voter outreach tools to Republican campaigns nationwide. The firm’s top clients were the Republican National Committee, which purchased more than $467,000 in services, and the state Republican parties of Florida, Arizona, and California, which paid at least $541,000, $350,000, and $346,000, respectively. Sidekick also worked directly with Republican candidates for Congress and other positions. [4]

The Georgia chapter of Trump Victory, which campaigned for the re-election of former President Donald Trump, also retained Sidekick and trained its members to use the firm’s outreach tools. According to Atlanta Young Republicans, which was partnering with Trump Victory at the time, the services which Sidekick provided helped the organizations reach out to voters despite restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [5]

Leadership

Drew Ryun is the chief executive officer of Campaign Sidekick. He founded the firm in 2012. From 2003 to 2005, Ryun was the deputy director of grassroots outreach for the Republican National Committee, which, according to him, now retains Sidekick as a “preferred vendor.” Ryun graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in history and English. [6]

Drew Ryun is the twin brother of Ned Ryun, a long-time Republican operative and the founder of American Majority, a right-of-center training organization which claims to have educated more than 50,000 candidates, activists, and institutional leaders since its launch in 2008. He has also written for the right-of-center publications American Greatness and the American Spectator. The father of Drew and Ned Ryun is former Kansas Republican congressman and Olympic silver medalist Jim Ryun. [7]

References

  1. “About Us.” Campaign Sidekick. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://campaignsidekick.vote/about-us/ ^
  2. “Drew Ryun.” LinkedIn. Accessed July 20, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drew-ryun-4586a0b0. ^
  3. Zach Whittaker. “Security lapse exposed Republican voter firm’s internal app code.” TechCrunch. March 30, 2020. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/30/campaign-sidekick/ ^
  4. “Campaign Sidekick LLC.” OpenSecrets. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/30/campaign-sidekick/ ^
  5. “AYR Co-Hosting Virtual Trump Victory Leadership Initiative Training.” Fulton County Republican Party. April 21, 2020. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://www.fultongop.org/index.php?option=com_jevents&task=icalrepeat.detail&evid=1495&Itemid=145&year=2020&month=04&day=21&title=ayr-co-hosting-virtual-trump-victory-leadership-initiative-training&uid=33174927df52fbaa4cc7f559e5bfdc28 ^
  6. Drew Ryun. LinkedIn. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drew-ryun-4586a0b0/ ^
  7. David Boyce. “Ryun Twins Following In Their Father’s Footsteps – Sort Of.” Chicago Tribune. May 20, 1990. Accessed July 2, 2022. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1990-05-20-9002130463-story.html ^
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