Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mike Caudle, King of the Oregon Netroots

I watched Markos Moulitsas on Bill Maher this evening, and Maher tipped his hand early by pushing the tired line about him being a kingmaker. Could you not even head to the website and seen for yourself? For whatever it is with flaws and pluses, it's one of the least top-down oriented blogging experiences. It's a vast and sometimes out of control community that feeds on a Red Bull-amped jones for some kind of data or quote or fundraising news or embarassing video or dirty trick...but it's not kos's plaything.

LO is much more the typical blogmodel--one or more people talking at you and trying to keep you informed and entertained while feeding their Red Bull amped jones for...yeah. But we've got a fine community, and it seems some of you have been generous to the point of making a little netroots giving history.
In the month since ActBlue, a federal PAC and website that enables anyone to fundraise for the Democratic candidates of their choice, opened its virtual doors to candidates for state office in Oregon, Caudle has raised more money through the service than any other Democrat in the state. In fact, Caudle’s neary $500 in online contributions from 17 unique donors ranks him among the most prolific online fundraisers of any
state House candidate in the country.
I noticed this a while ago. If you go to the ActBlue page for Oregon state house candidates, you'll see that not only is Caudle outpacing everyone else's returns from the process, he's being nice: he's crushing everyone else combined, and sadly I have yet to find anyone who has ANY money raised this way. Look up the candidates deemed hot picks these days: Arnie Roblan--nothing. Jean Cowan--nope. Chris Edwards--bupkus. Dan Thackaberry, Brian Clem, Sal Peralta, Tobias Read, Larry Galizio, Tina Kotek, Rob Brading. Rob Brading? The Great White Hope of Oregon progressives has zero dollars contributed electronically through one of absolute key tools of the netroots fundraising revolution? And the guy the party keeps kind of half-heartedly supporting for lack of confidence and competitive vision, he's got $500 from 17 people. That's not going to beat Wayne Scott by itself, but $0 sure as hell isn't either.

The strategy of engaging and empowering people looking for a confident shift in direction based on common sense, and using small viral technologies like moneyraising at the retail level, is taking candidates large and small into office around the country. The blogosphere as instigator and conduit for connecting local politicians with voters can work at a very small level, with low financial inputs and low-level engagement. It's word of mouth on the cheap, but as Mike proves it more than pays for itself. I don't reprint this to be immodest, but to make a point, which I'll do afterwards:
Much of this success is tied to the efforts of two
political blogs. Loaded Orygun, a popular progressive
blog in the state, offers its readers an opportunity
to donate to Caudle’s campaign through a link on its
website. The Blue America communities, a coalition of
three leading national political blogs that has raised
more than $160,000 for candidates around the country,
recently added Caudle as one of just two state
legislative candidates it is supporting.
Now I know BlueAmerica was a big push for him, and much of his netroots money must be from there. But he seems to be saying that the button we have to donate to Mike Caudle in our sidebar has resulted in people giving him money. That's outstanding. And you know how he made that money? Because Caudle and campaign manager Jonathan Singer asked me to put it there. Carla and I haven't decided on a donations policy--whether it would be open door or at some kind of endorsing discretion or maybe just to limit the clutter--but we haven't had to. I put up Carol Voisin's page link (which no one from here has hit on) because she's getting hammered by Walden on money, so the only candidate in the entire state who's asked we've been happy to say yes to. Use the tubes, people! Follow Mike's lead and begin pushing your message up from the bottom.