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Northern Kentucky Teen Creates Hidden Component in Rand Paul's Campaign App

A Northern Kentucky teen played a role in the development of Senator Rand Paul's presidential campaign app.

That app was developed by Covington-based digital agency CanDo and within it is a so-called "Easter egg", a feature of an app not expressly visible by users. In the Rand Paul app, the hidden feature is a "Space Invaders"-like game created by Villa Madonna High School junior David Blincoe while interning at CanDo over the past summer.

CanDo founder Rob Ratterman works closely with the Paul campaign and enlisted Blincoe's help with the app during the teen's internship at the firm.

“I kind of like to call it Rand Invader,” Blincoe said of his game. “It was (Ratterman's) idea and I worked on it. The day before vacation, he told me about it. I worked on it all through vacation and then I really didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t really know that it would be an Easter Egg in the app, but then I was told about a week ago that it was going into the app, so it surprised me, but it was awesome.”

The game allows users to use Paul’s campaign torch to blast other presidential campaign slogans. The app was featured in a New York Times article that stated, “It tries to offer a blend of digital mischief and communication that has come to be the hallmark of Mr. Paul’s online campaign.” Vocativ also got a kick out of the game, writing an article about finding the game inside the app.

Blincoe put in a lot of time developing the Rand Invader.

“It was probably around four weeks, for an average of three hours a day,” he said. “This is actually the first time I’ve ever created anything like this, but I’ve done a lot of work with other program languages and have done some work on Java Script, but nothing this intensive so I had to learn a lot.”

He said that for now, the positive feedback he’s received has come from within his school and family and friends, but hopes that it generates enough buzz to have Senator Paul also give comment.  

“So far the feedback has been great. I’ve been praised around here at the school. People walk up to me and say that they downloaded it and that it’s so cool. I haven’t really gotten a huge response outside of Villa yet, but as far as I can tell, the overall review on the IoS and its Play Store are pretty good,” Blincoe said. “I have not heard from (Paul), but it would be really cool if I did.”

Blincoe said that his work over the summer is the kind of thing he would like to do professionally once his schooling is complete.

“Definitely, I would love to go into computer engineering or some sort of database engineering when I get older. Along something that is paired with business, kind of like following in the footsteps of my mentor, Rob Ratterman, and all of his employees. They helped me out a ton on this and they’ve been super supportive.”

Blincoe said that he didn’t have to play the game he designed as much as others.

“It wasn’t a very testing-intensive game. Some projects that I have worked on is almost all testing with a little bit of coding, but this wasn’t very testing intensive.  It was probably a total of two hours playing this game and testing for bugs and that sort of thing.”

So for those who always wanted to blow up Donald Trumps campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”, or Jeb Bush’s “Jeb!”, David Blincoe has given you that chance.  

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: Brian Blincoe (provided)