Colin Delany December 3, 2007

Did a Magic Email List Propel Huckabee to the Top?

Big news from Iowa this weekend, with Mike Huckabee and Barak Obama apparently bouncing to the top of the likely caucus-voter polls. Writing in the Post on Sunday, Chris Cillizza And Shailagh Murray point to an email list as part of the reason for Huckabee’s rise:

Brinson is the keeper of a massive e-mail list of much-coveted Christian voters that Huckabee is using to reach and organize people in early-voting states such as Iowa.

Brinson’s list numbers about 71 million contacts, with 25 million identified as belonging to “25 and 45 years old, upwardly mobile, right-of-center, conservative households,” he said. In other words, a target-rich environment for a candidate such as Huckabee, who is preaching a compassionate conservative message heavily infused with religious sentiment.

In Iowa alone, Brinson’s list has produced 414,000 contacts for the Huckabee campaign, a stunning number given that less than one-quarter of that total is expected to vote in January’s Republican caucuses.

Randy Brinson, an Alabama doctor, built the list while helping to market The Passion of the Christ, a movie that drew huge audiences of Christian conservatives and whose success shocked the hell (hah!) out of Hollywood.

Of course, there has to be a lot more to the Huckster’s rise than one email list: if he didn’t walk the evangelical walk, people would see through his conservative talk just as fast as they do Romney’s (whose positions are apparently held together with duct tape). Mike Huckabee isn’t just “reaching out” to evangelical Christian conservatives; like George W. Bush in 2000, he IS one of them, something that you can’t fake forever.

To a guy like Mike, a list like that must be immensely valuable, particlarly because it’s going to contain some of the most active Christian conservatives, including people who were willing to help organize their congregations to show up en masse for Mel Gibson’s Passion. We already know that Huckabee’s counting on viral emails to build support beyond the initial primary states, and this list clearly gives him access to a huge number of potential opinion leaders — the kind of people whose friends and family listen to them.


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