Gerard Niemira is the CEO of Shadow. Shadow is the Democratic Party-run company that was in charge of providing the results of the Iowa caucuses.
According to Niemira’s LinkedIn page, he has been the CEO of Shadow Inc since May 2019 having previously sat on the company’s board. Prior to that, Niemira was the CEO and Chief Technology Officer of ACRONYM. ACRONYM has distanced itself from the Iowa Democratic Caucus confusion by saying that they are an investor in Shadow and nothing more. ACRONYM was founded by President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign digital producer, Tara McGowan.
During the 2016 presidential election, Niemira served as the Senior Product Manager and the Director of Product for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In 2005, Niemira interned for New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel. During his time with Clinton’s campaign, Niemira was promoted “to lead the small but mighty team in charge of all of the campaign’s tools for field organizers and volunteers.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Niemira Described the Democratic Party’s Previous Data Collection as a ‘S*** Show’
Niemira told Wired that when he came on board the Clinton campaign, the Democratic data operation was a “s*** show from the moment I started.” Niemira said that Vertica, the party’s data software, crashed for 72 hours straight when he first started. He added that the data was so bad that the party’s activists had a “habit of knocking on dead people’s doors.”
Niemira went on to say that the Democratic Party had to have a data system that was simple to use. He said, “In order to be successful in 2020 and beyond, we have to figure out a way to get low-skill users to be able to pull this data around the ecosystem.”
2. Upon Launching Shadow, Niemira Said That ‘Democrats Will Be Exponentially Better at Reaching Voters’
Niemira announced the launching of Shadow in a January 2019 blog post, that has since been deleted but can be viewed here. Niemira wrote, “Democrats will be exponentially better at reaching voters, building lasting connections and winning elections if we can better harness, integrate and manage data across the platforms and technologies we all use within our campaigns. We’ll create better experiences for our staff, our organizers, and the voters we want to reach – and in turn, we’ll help build progressive power not just in 2020, but for election cycles to come.” On the day of the Iowa Caucus confusion, the Huffington Post reports, citing a Democratic Party source, that ACRONYM’s investment in Shadow was supposed to allow caucus site leaders to upload their site results.
3. Niemira Has a Photo of Paul Manafort as His Facebook Profile Photo
The message on Niemira’s website simply reads, “Do all the good you can.” On his Twitter profile, which is set to private, Niemira writes in his bio, “Make it happen.” The profile photo on Niemira’s Facebook page is Paul Manafort, the disgraced former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign’s, mugshot.
An online profile says that Niemira is a native of New Jersey and now lives in Denver, Colorado, after spending nine years living in Oakland, California. A separate online profile describes Niemira as having a “passion for social enterprise.” Niemira was married in the summer of 2013.
4. Niemira Is Also the Co-Founder of GroundBase
In March 2017, Niemira co-founded GroundBase. According to that company’s website, GroundBase “is an opinionated technology platform for organizers, activists, and advocates to organize their voters, volunteers, and donors.” GroundBase was purchased by ACRONYM in January 2019.
Between 2008 and 2015, Niemira served in a variety of roles for Kiva.org, a non-profit organization that provides loans to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 77 countries. Niemira has also worked for First Book, a non-profit that distributed new books to low-income households.
5. Niemira Is a 2005 Graduate of Saint Thomas Aquinas College, Where He Studied History
Niemira is a graduate of Boston University and of Saint Thomas Aquinas College in New York, where he attained a BA in History. During his time at the school, Niemira was a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Science.
Shadow launched its flagship product in July 2019 which was a “software meant to serve as a universal adapter for political data and technology,” according to Campaign and Elections. Niemira is quoted in the story as saying that he expected to see mergers and acquisitions among Democratic Party-backed tech start-up companies. Niemira said, “It’s boom and bust. It’s really hard to maintain that cycle over cycle. I expect to see more consolidation.”