One of my favorites from working alongside on the Dean campaign, Larry Biddle, is now working on the Betty Castor US Senate campaign in Florida, and he's featured in an article out today, Key player in Dean campaign brings skills to Castor's Senate bid
. Here's a few clips:Now one of the key players in Dean's campaign has turned his attention to Florida, taking Betty Castor's otherwise traditional U.S. Senate campaign into a hip venture where "Bettyheads," the Betty Blog and e-mail fund raising are what's happening on "BettyNet."
Larry Biddle, former deputy campaign finance director for Dean, is credited with helping raise about $25 million - half of the $50 million raised by Dean's campaign - via the Internet. Biddle is now serving as Castor's deputy campaign manager...
"It's all about the people taking control," Biddle said. "The reason people in this country are so disaffected about politics is because they don't feel like they have any control."
So alongside voters who come to rallies and coffee-klatches, Biddle imagines a legion of Castor supporters surfing the Web at night in their pajamas, reading up on her latest stand on issues or with a few clicks of a mouse sending a donation.
The Internet effort has raised about $27,000 for Castor's campaign in the last three weeks without a specific request for campaign donations, Biddle said. Castor's campaign raised more than $1.25 million in the first quarter of this year, before BettyNet came into being.
Castor trails Deutsch and Penelas in fund raising, with the South Florida candidates both having raised about $2.9 million through the end of March.
Castor said Biddle brings a fresh approach to politics which she hopes will transcend geographic bases that often work against candidates in a large state like Florida....
"It has to have some audaciousness to it, it has to be hip," Biddle said. "People will say, 'This is not politics as usual'."
Castor is leading in the latest polls, but as noted, she trails Deutsch and Penelas in money. From the looks of it though, those two might spend too much time duking it out over S. Florida (boy, was that a bow shot by Gore on behalf of Peter's campaign) and allow Castor to maintain her lead in the polls.
As far as BettyNet.com goes, it's got a lot more interactivity than most Senate websites. They are using Convio, which is powerful for fundraising tracking, and generating detailed reports; and combining it with BettyBlog.com, which works on a separate platform, Drupal-based, and so requiring another sign-on, ugh.
The Dean campaign did "transform the notion of cyberspace citizens into a political force" but we also had an inefficient array of technologies to work with, and probably wound up with around 5-8 different platforms, some of which were integrated and others not. Ah, the elusive SSO of which TMS will one day deliver (that's The Mighty Scoop, not the other TMS, r.i.p.).
Anyway, it was Biddle that came up with the idea of using a baseball bat to track the contributions, and it's great to see he's still got game, and has found another candidate/campaign to swing a bat... or a spoon.