2006: The rise of local political blogs
It seems that everyone is talking about blogs these days, but much of the coverage is all about the big national blogs that get millions of hits. But for most political campaigns, it's the local blogs that can make a big difference - generating buzz, finding donors and volunteers, and driving media coverage.
Over at Roll Call, they've got a great piece about the coming role of state and local blogs in the political world.
But if 2004 belonged to the national political blogs, 2006 might well be the cycle of the local political blog. These blogs specialize in state or local political coverage, and while these smaller, non-national political blogs may not have the resources — financial or otherwise — of the well-known titans of the blogosphere, many are starting to gain a following, not to mention the respect of state and local media outlets and politicians.
Last weekend, the Reno Gazette-Journal took notice of the rise of Nevada political blogs, including the Las Vegas Gleaner - a blog that "has quickly become a must-read in political circles."
Though readership is tiny for local political blogs, the Nevada Democrats' spokeswoman Kirsten Searer makes the critical point:
"The beauty of bloggers is they have an audience of the right people. If they break news, then insiders in politics and mainstream media are likely to pick it up."
It is nice to see that the Republicans at the NRCC completely miss the point about blogs. Roll Call quotes spokesman Carl Forti:
"The people who go to these blogs, it’s the very partisan Republicans and very partisan Democrats, and those aren’t the people we are worried about."
As regular readers of P&T know, the whole purpose of a campaign website is to communicate with, motivate, and organize the grassroots supporters and fans of a candidate.
If there's a blog out there - either of the news, commentary, or activist variety - that's talking to your people... well, that's a blog worth tracking and wooing. Nevermind their roles in pushing stories to the forefront of the big media.
The congressional Democrats seem to get it better. Greg Speed, former spokesman for the DCCC:
Speed added that in battleground areas, keeping an eye on what the blogging community is saying can be an important part of running a campaign.
So, start paying attention to local blogs. It's going to matter in 2006.
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