Amy Schatz continues her consistently excellent coverage of online politics for the Wall Street Journal today with an article on how local candidates are benefitting from the explosion of online fundraising:
Presidential candidate John Edwards has long been one of the top money-raisers at Democratic fund-raising site ActBlue.com. But, for a short time recently, he was almost surpassed by Daniel Biss, a 30-year-old mathematics professor running for the Illinois state legislature.
The Biss phenomenon illustrates another way the Internet is shaking up politics and changing the way races are run this year: online fund raising is now filtering down to low-dollar state and local races, where a little bit of extra money goes further than it would in a national race.
In Bliss’s case, he was helped by a friend who was willing to humiliate himself on-camera if Bliss’s supporters pledged enough money; the WSJ story has a nice video of him eating a Happy Meal-turned-Slushee (too bad the cat-licking thing didn’t work out).
Overall, the article provides yet another example of how the ‘net can help to level the proverbial playing field for challengers and outsiders. Also, check out Bliss’s campaign site — it’s a nice, tight little critter that does the job well.