CQ’s Daniel Newhauser picked up on a good story late last week — Minnesota Governor and presumed 2012 Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has “crowdsourced” his backing, allowing his supporters to vote to decide which of the congressional candidates he’s endorsed should receive the bulk of his support. At stake are both money and attention, giving the candidates themselves every reason to spread the word and help Pawlenty…build his own list.
That’s the gist of the quote Daniel includes from e.politics right near the beginning of the piece (thanks Daniel!) — Pawlenty’s contest is a classic list-building opportunity and a chance to expose him to Republican voters outside of his own region. Of course it’ll also build connections with the candidates involved and is no doubt good politics all around, but why do I suspect that the exposure to potential new supporters (and donors) that’s really driving this one. Note also the online angle to the winner’s benefits — a Facebook “town hall” with Pawlenty and a chance to hit up the “Freedom First” PAC’s email list for cash.
For more about future Republican candidates’ organizing online, see also this piece that ran in Politico over the weekend: 2012 prelude: GOP hopefuls go online. More shortly on the Dems’ online push to get ready for the 2010 cycle.
[…] But it’s a good excuse to email that activist list every week, and if it helps keep the base engaged through the summer (remember that Congress will go out of session early to begin campaigning) and recruits a few new potential donors, then it might do them some good. Gimmicks are no substitute for a comprehensive online outreach plan, though, and this initiative also has the secondary effect of opening Republicans up to criticism of their OWN record on the budget — something onto which Democrats were quick to hop. (For an earlier look at Republican crowdsourcing, see this piece on Tim Pawlenty.) […]