Differentiators Data is a full-service data and intelligence firm, offering both qualitative and quantitative research products. Headquartered in Raleigh, we offer subscriptions on North Carolina-focused insights and data analysis, while our polling and research serve a broad range of corporate, nonprofit, and political clients across multiple states.

Amanda Finelli, Director of Differentiators Data

Amanda Finelli is the Director of Differentiators Data. With over a decade of experience, Amanda has worked for a range of non-profit and trade associations to help them achieve their legislative aims and elevate their political programs through data-driven strategies and tactics.

Prior to joining the Differentiators, Amanda served as the political strategist for the State Employees Association of NC where she grew the political action committee, EMPAC, to the second-largest state PAC in North Carolina during the 2020 presidential election. Over the span of six years, she increased member voter turnout by 15 points, achieving a 93 percent turnout rate in 2020 and an overall average 89 percent win rate in endorsed races.

Amanda received her Ph.D. from the University of Surrey (UK), where she studied the socioeconomics of the United States’ mental health system. She holds an M.A. in English from Royal Holloway, University of London (UK) and a B.A. with Honors in English from The Ohio State University.

Ray Martin, Partner

Ray Martin is a newspaper reporter turned communications adviser turned political operative.

Martin got his first writing gig at 16, covering high school sports for his hometown newspaper. In college, he wrote full time for the statewide newspaper of record and managed a team of opinion columnists for student media on Oklahoma’s campus. The News & Observer brought him to Raleigh in 2009, and he covered local government until Phil Berger hired him to be the State Senate’s press secretary. Martin managed the Senate Caucus political operation from 2012 to 2018, going undefeated in target races in three of the four election cycles.

Martin lives in North Raleigh with his wife, Rachel and their two kids.

Jim Blaine, Partner

Jim Blaine served as North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger’s first Chief of Staff, from 2011 to 2018. Prior to joining Senator Berger’s legislative staff, Blaine was the director of the Republican State Senate Caucus political organization, where he led the historic 2010 campaign effort that put Republicans in control of the North Carolina Senate for the first time in 140 years.

Much of Blaine’s training for legislative and political work came through his first job out of college: teaching middle school students with behavioral and emotional disabilities.

After six years, Blaine left the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a diploma in hand and an agreement – which the University rescinded in 2018 when he was appointed to the UNC Board of Visitors – that he not return.

Today, Blaine lives in Raleigh with his wife and four daughters.