|Wednesday, December 31, 2003|
Web pages for GOP hopefuls for NC governor. All pretty rudimentary at this point. No blogs, social software, etc. But still ahead of incumbent Democrat Mike Easley, who has no active campaign site up -- although I know at least one prominent Greensboro supporter has sent him the Baseline case study.
9:45:27 AM comment 
Is North Carolina really a good test bed for Internet campaigning? That's one of the subjects Henry Copeland and I discussed yesterday at Thiggy's Pizza in beautiful downtown Greensboro.
Henry raised three questions: Is the passion behind Dean lacking in the Bowles camp? Is there a blog community of critical mass to sustain a Web campaign? And, doesn't the existence of a big, strong Democratic party in the state make the party less likely to adopt new tools?
My answer to number one: campaigns shouldn't try to out-Dean Dean. He's got the anti-war vibe going -- that's unique, or at least rare. The key is to abstract the online strategy by asking simple questions: does grassroots organizing matter? If so, are tools that make such organizing cheap and effective of value? Yes, and yes. Coordinated volunteer activity in 100 counties would be a big plus for any NC campaign. The Net can help you do that. QED.
Two: the blog community. It's not there yet on the volunteer level, but with the right focus and seeding (local activists, universities...) there could be dozens of Bowles blogs by June.
Finally, the existing party structure breeding complacency and turf jealously. Definitely a danger. But in a tight race, getting new voters out and convincing swing voters to swing your way will be critical. Forget the Internet-changes-everything fallacy -- if a good online campaign delivers, say, an incremental 3% of the vote, it's well worthwhile. And any campaign that loses a close race in which it doesn't deploy Internet tools deserves what it gets.
9:34:52 AM comment 
Henry Copeland: Dan Okrent discovered Bill James, and what that might mean for the New York Times.
9:07:34 AM comment