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Monday, February 14, 2005

State Party Blog Project: Update

Posted by Tim Tagaris

We can show them with more than just money.

In the hours since Howard Dean was selected to lead our party into the years ahead, the blogosphere has responded by contributing $97,000 plus in the past 48 hours to the DNC. We do so as a show of support for the Governor. "We've got his back." For the little its worth, I urge you to continue contributing nationally, but I also implore you to act locally.

One of the major tasks ahead of us is building a solid party infrastructure that has been woefully neglected until now--until the grassroots uprising inspired in large part by the Dean campaign. The State Party Blog Project attempts to take those first steps, online, in our own states. Please link our effort to your blogs and websites, and most importantly, keep working towards our goal.

We have been at the project for a few weeks, and already have had some successes. I want to take this opportunity to outline some of those victories, implore you to apply pressure in states that are close to coming around, and attempt to convince states that don't seem to be listening.

Success Stories

Alabama: Yes, I am partial. Not because I am from the state (cause I am not) but because working with the technology director of the Alabama State Democratic Party was a lot of fun. Great guy, the state party is lucky to have Brannon on the team. From our first emails:

i have been wanting to do this. not sure exactly how to go about it. any insight would be greatly appreciated. Brannon AL Dem Party

Well, a few weeks later--we have this: http://www.aladems.net/nucleus Great work, Brannon!

Florida: No real point in looking to the past, and it probably wouldn't have been used much--but imagine what a blog would have done in this state during the 2000 recount. With a Gov. and Sen. race in 2006, the party has jumped into the 21st century. From the first email returned by the Florida Democratic Party back in December:

I've gone so far as to walk through the blog creation process at blogspot.com and to download movable type for potentially hosting a blog on our webserver. We also wrote a very simplistic web diary for use by our delegation during the convention. [...]

I love blogs. I read several regularly. We already run a yahoo group that allows some members to carry on discussions. What more will a blog do for us?

I don't know if the emails back and forth had anything to do with it, and quite frankly, it's not important. But this is:


Tennessee: I wish I still had the emails to share, but the good people at the Tennessee Democratic Party were one of the first to respond when the initial call by the project's participants went out.

Now, they have a blog up.

Massachusetts: In response to a flood of emails from the netroots:

Hey folks, The MDP is going to start a blog. In addition to our forum.


Right now we are trying to decide who the blog moderator will be.

Iowa: This is another state that didn't have a blog when the project first started. Well, they had one, they just never used it. Which is another important facet of the project--getting states that have blogs, and don't use them, to start.

We have been assured in the case of Iowa, that will change. From the Iowa Democratic Party:

The Iowa Democratic Party does have a blog! See Here it is just getting started, and we have new staff coming on board next week, so things should start picking up. You can contact me if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or would like to volunteer to help.

-Andrew Brown

But here is the point, once again. I could go down the list and count off state party websites that did not have blogs when we started, but do now. All of these blogs appeared after some form of outreach from our effort. Some of the states said they planned on starting a blog at first ask by the SPBP. Others did not. Either way, if they have a blog now, that is a victory.

But more important than celebrating our successes, is working towards states that are coming around--they just need a little more prodding. For example:

States We Can Get--Keep the Pressure On!

North Dakota is an easy get--if we follow up. From the Executive Director. Kind of makes me bad for going off on this state on the site.

We are interested. Thanks, Vern Thompson

Short and sweet, but that's fine. Someone, grab that ball. Here is the email address to use: vthompson@demnpl.com

New Jersey: Sorry to solicit more emails to the NJDP Mike, don't take it the wrong way--I really do like you.

Thank you so much for your input. There has been an increase in the number of requests for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee to provide a blog to our supporters. I assure you that the idea is being considered, so please check our website often for updates! We post new information, and ways for our supporters to get involved very often, so thank you for visiting our site, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Michael Giglio
IT Director
New Jersey Democratic State Committee

Pennsylvania: Could there be a more important race in 2006 than our opportunity to take out Rick Santorum? Seriously. This is why Democrats have lost 13 straight full-term U.S. Senate elections in PA. They say they are short-handed, well let them know that we will pick up the ball for them!

I just called and spoke to the PA Dem webmaster. He thought a blog is a good idea and told me that there is an intention to create a blog. But he is part of a three person team with a number of tasks, so it doesn't sound like we'll get a weblog soon.

He asked me if there is an email going around because I was "the fourth person" who called him today to inquire about a weblog.

So that is a quick down-and-dirty update. I have made all of the requisite updates on The State Party Blog Projet Blog. Atleast I hope I have. That is the hub for information and all of the tools you need to push the project down the field. Oh, not to glance over them. But we are going to include D.C. and Puerto Rico. More information on that shortly.

Please, take advantage of them. It is a new day for the Democratic Party. What better gift can we give our new Chairman than working to rebuild the infrastructure of our party and convince them (like we should have to convince) to implement the tools that allow us to participate and communicate directly from the roots.

Let's open those lines of communication.

Posted at 11:52 AM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati