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Friday, September 30, 2005

C&E: Blogosphere Rally

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Swing State Project received a great deal of press in August for our work to make Paul Hackett a contender. Now that Paul Hackett is viewed as a Senate candidate, we won't let up. But the press keeps flowing about our triangular approach of DavidNYC, Tim Tagaris and me. From the cover story of the (subscription only) Campaigns and Elections:

When US Rep Rob Portman left the House in April to become US trade representative, Democrats were not expected to make much of a race for his seat.

After all, the congressman’s district in Ohio’s rural, southwest 2nd district had been in Republican hands since 1974. More recently, it gave Portman and President George W. Bush respectively 72 percent and 63 percent of the vote in November 2004.

But some liberal activists spied an opportunity. At the blog Daily Kos, a liberal Web site with more than 500,000 daily hits, a law student with the handle DavidNYC posted a short essay titled “OH-02: Let’s Take This Open Seat on a Trial Run.” Sixteen months earlier, the Daily Kos regular had launched a blog called “SwingStateProject” that monitored Democrats’ chances at capturing key states in the 2004 election. After the party’s defeat, David kept up the blog and posted prominent commentaries at Daily Kos.

Back to the political consulant story...

A pivotal site was “Grow Ohio,” launched in June by U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio’s 13th District. In 2004 that site’s
chief blogger, Tim Tagaris, had worked for a Daily Kos-endorsed candidate named Jeff Seemann in Ohio’s 16th district, who had lost the race but earned more than $100,000 from online donations. Tagaris, also a blogger at Swing State Project and Daily Kos, had learned how to direct the eyes of media and bloggers to a

On July 13, the Hackett campaign sent a press release to bloggers and reporters called “Choose Your Seat Wisely,” which dramatized what Hackett and Schmidt were doing on Oct. 24, 2004. While Schmidt appeared at a Republican fund-raiser and a football game, Hackett was in a chopper being transported from Ramadi to Fallujah. Tagaris posted a version of the release on Grow Ohio titled “What a
Difference a Day Makes.” The campaign’s visibility was dramatically increased, and donations through Hackett’s Web site and ActBlue spiked.

So let's talk about the history...

Six days later the campaign experienced another surge. A large number of liberal blogs had dubbed July 19 “Blogosphere Day.” A year earlier, bloggers at Daily Kos had “adopted” Ginny Schrader, a nominally funded candidate in Pennsylvania’s 8th district, and given her $25,000 in one day. As blogs were commemorating the day by coordinating donations to Hackett, Democracy For America sent out an
e-mail to its list asking members to support him. Thanks to this combination, the Hackett campaign raised more than $80,000 in 24 hours – the best-ever day of online donations for a non-presidential campaign.

With the candidate’s name and biography now known nationally across the blogs, the campaign was able to attract hundreds of volunteers. Bob Brigham, Tagaris’s co-blogger on Swing State Project, got plugged into the campaign and started using the blog as a rapid response tool. Brigham’s first test came on July 28, when a USA Today story on the race quoted Hackett saying, “I’ve said I don’t like that son of a bitch that lives in the White House. But I’d put my life on
the line for him.” The next day, the NRCC announced two ad buys in the 2nd district totaling $525,000. Committee spokesman Carl Forti said it had reacted to Hackett’s comments and “decided to bury him.”

Can SSP Deliver?

On Aug. 1, the campaign told bloggers that it needed $30,000 to fund GOTV. They raised $50,000. On Election Night, Tagaris and Brigham had Internet access at campaign headquarters, where they posted updates and rumors. For around 30 minutes, when it looked like the race might come down to a few hundred votes in late-returning Clermont County, MyDD and Swing State Project asked readers to
dig up information on Ohio election law.


Posted at 01:58 AM in Site News | Technorati

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