Tim Saler is a builder of large, complex campaign organizations and an innovator in using strategic data to win tough fights. He serves as Vice President at Grassroots Targeting, where he conducts microtargeting on behalf of campaigns, party committees, and influencers, and personally wrote the firm’s highly-successful voter scoring software.
Prior to joining Grassroots Targeting, Saler was Deputy Campaign Manager to Florida Governor Rick Scott, managing a more than $100 million coordinated budget and directing the campaign’s targeting and voter contact programs. His work for the Scott campaign not only defeated a team of Obama campaign veterans at their own game in the nation’s largest swing state, but accurately projected Governor Scott’s winning margin within less than 8,100 votes out of nearly six million cast.
Saler has also served as Deputy Campaign Manager to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign, Deputy Executive Director for Political Strategy at the Republican Party of Florida, and Director of Strategy at the Republican Party of Wisconsin. In the 2012 presidential campaign, he was National Turnout Director at the Republican National Committee.
Saler is a former Executive Director of the Mississippi Republican Party, North Carolina Victory Director for the RNC, and Regional Field Director for the Victory effort that elected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2009.
A South Jersey native and graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, he was named a Rising Star by Campaigns & Elections in 2016, and his work with Grassroots Targeting has received a Reed Award for Best Use of New Technology and a Pollie Award from the American Association of Political Consultants for Best Use of Analytics. Saler lives with his wife and daughter in Northern Virginia.
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Tim: I will avoid naming names as not to leave anybody out, but I appreciate everyone in our industry for whom professional and personal ethics are a genuine, uncompromising priority. I’ve been lucky to work closely with some of them. They serve as positive role models for everyone they work with, and that you can be a great political consultant and a good human being at the same time, and that – despite what you might read and hear – these things need not be mutually-exclusive.
AAPC: Tell us about something you’re most proud of accomplishing in your professional career.
Tim: I didn’t think about it much at the time, but in retrospect, designing and managing a $103-million combined campaign budget for Governor Rick Scott in Florida was a pretty big deal. Short of presidential general election campaigns, there aren’t many races that big. Looking back, it means a lot to me that someone as accomplished and successful as Governor Scott entrusted me with that responsibility, and I’m proud that I did it very well.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Tim: I don’t know how successful I have been, but I am proud to have helped some really good people run for elected office and worked with some really good people along the way. I think I’ve tried to appreciate each opportunity to learn and grow professionally. I’ve never had much interest in doing the same thing in the same place over and over. I try to be creative and innovative, and apply my less-common skills like computer programming to the domain knowledge accumulated over a career in political campaigns to give a tactical and strategic advantage to the people for whom I’m working. I try to stay focused on maximizing those things that I’m uniquely good at, and try to find ways to apply them to the problems that the campaign faces across the board.
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Tim: I think we are all better off when people accumulate experience and domain knowledge. There is an inclination towards disruption in general today. If you want to make a difference in political campaigns, learn about and experience political campaigns. There is no shortcut, and there really aren’t any equivalents in other markets or industries. They don’t have Burger Day where everyone has to wait until a specific date, then go pick who sells all the burgers in their state for the next four years. Campaigns really are the fastest-moving “startups” in America, but we face very different constraints as compared to anyone else. Learn about how this works from the inside, from the bottom up, and over time you will learn how to make effective change and ultimately make a positive difference.