Monday, July 25, 2005

Campaign Sites -- Secretary of the State

Dems Fight for Attention in Crowded Race

The race for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of the State is a tightly-packed one, with six declared candidates fighting for limited money and attention. Top administrative jobs don't come open very often, so when Susan Bysiewicz decided to run for governor, a small horde of Democrats leapt at the chance to take her place. Why the massive throng? What's so great about being the Secretary of the State?

Well, very little, except that it's a high office and it's uncontroversial. If you're a Democrat in search of the governor's mansion or a spot in Congress, being Secretary of State is not a bad way to start. So this is a race that bears watching, if only because it will give us a good indication of whose star is rising in Connecticut.

Four of the six candidates have operational websites. Bob Landino's has had a "coming soon" message message for some time, and Norma Rodriguez-Reyes of New Haven has yet to put up a site. Republican candidate Richard Abbate only recently declared his candidacy, and so has no site as of yet.

So what have the others done with their sites so far? It's worth noting that these sites are still young, as the campaign hasn't really gotten underway (note: candidates listed in alphabetical order).

Audrey Blondin

Blondin's site has a professional look to it, with a clear menu and not-too-intrusive graphics, but it can be a bit hard to find specific information. There is no search function as of yet, and the only position statement I was able to find was buried deep within the blog section.

However, this is the only site thus far that has a blog, which suggests that campaign blogs are starting to filter down to some of the less important races. It's good to see that Ms. Blondin has a blog going (even if it's rarely updated thus far) and that comments are enabled (although no one has posted a comment as of yet).

Andrew Fleischmann

For a guy who has raised a ton of money, this is one lousy site. However, Flesichmann's campaign is young yet, it could improve.

There is very little useful information here (besides the lengthy biography), and the site as it stands right now is comprised of the biography, a search page, contact information, a site map and a place to contribute money. The site map and the search function suggest that this site is going to expand.

Evelyn Mantilla

Mantilla, who offically declared her candidacy recently, just put this site up within the last couple of weeks. The loud banner header with the moving graphic and the background with the stars and the slanted words are a distraction from what is otherwise a pretty workable site.

There seems to be a lot of potential here, as suggested by the issues page, which has a few subject headings but no actual position statements yet. Also, there is no way for people to contribute to the campaign online, yet, which could be a drawback. There is also no search function. But there's a nice biography and photo gallery, and with a little work this site could be very nice indeed.

John Nussbaum

That waving flag icon is hypnotic... I just can't stop staring at it.

And if I click on it... I'm taken to the contribution page! Wow. Slick.

This is the most comprehensive site thus far, with links to actual position statements, good information about voting procedures, a very detailed biography page and a form to set up a time to actually meet the candidate in a group (Audrey Blondin will come talk to you as well, through the "house parties" idea also used by the DeStefano campaign).

There is no interactive section here yet, either, and no search function.

Note: John Nussbaum will be joining us early next week for a Q&A session.


This is obviously a campaign in its very early stages, at least in terms of web presence. For example, only one of the sites has a search function, only one is using a campaign blog, position statements are hard to find, and none of the sites are available in languages other than English. It will be very interesting to check back on these sites early next year to see how they have evolved.

Candidate Sites -- Governor


Aldon Hynes said...

Actually, I've posted a couple comments on Audrey's blog. Unfortunately, they have a problem with her blog in that you cannot get to the archives.

It is early and I do hope to see several of the candidates have blogs which promote a lively discussion and great participation in the electoral process.

Genghis Conn said...


Ah, I had wondered about that.

The interesting thing about Audrey's blog is that she seems to write a significant portion of the entries herself. I would love to see candidates write more entries and interact with people more in the comment section of their blogs.

Audrey said...

Hi, this is Audrey Blondin!
Thank you for the nice review of our site-
I appreciate your acknowledgement that we're still "getting the bugs out" & we're trying as hard as we can to get our site working as user friendly as possible.
Yes-I do write my own blogs!!
I feel that as I candidate, I speak for myself & truly enjoy the opportunies that the blog presents to speak on issues & concerns of all of you.
I would like to comment on the recent comments stating that the reason so many people are running for this office is that it makes a nice steeping stone to higher office....
I have said this from the very beginning & I believe everyone has the right to know where the candidates all stand on this issue.
It is very rare if ever that you see a candidate coming solely from local government running for state-wide office, and I believe that I offer a new & different type of leadership for the SOTS office, reaching out to all of our cities & towns from a local rather than state-wide point of view. I feel that the SOTS office presents a wonderful & unique opportunity for me to use my many years of experience at every level, from the Litchfield Board of Selectmen to being part of the CT national convention delegation & running the 5th CD for Kerry for President, along with being a wife of 30 years, mother of 3 children, attorney for over 25 years & member of the DSCC to reach out to all citizens across our state for participation & involvment in our political process.
Thank you for this continued opportunity to speak to all of you.
I look forward to your continued comments & ideas.

Genghis Conn said...


Thanks for your comments. I do harbor the suspicion that at least some of the candidates are hoping to further loftier ambitions, which is a shame if true.

MikeCT said...

The Fleischmann site is going to get a major and badly needed overhaul - probably this week.

Also, the Associated Press had a story this weekend on the Secy of State race. The Newtown Bee ran the first of two articles on a recent candidate forum.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Genghis position about the office of Secretary of State. Usually this office is a stepping stone to higher position. However for the 2006 cycle this race actually has some very important issues. From Help America Vote Act to assisting business development in this state, this race is not about "gee I am a nice person" but rather who is going to work with 169 towns to meet HAVA requirements in an effienct cost effective way, insuring our votes are counted and counted accurately. Who is going to assist busness in this state develop and grow for new jobs and an increase tax base that will help solve some of the deficeits that are facing this state.

I hope people who read this web site think about the importance of the office and who is running and why they want to be Secretary of State. I also find it interesting which campaigns are pimping on this site and who are not. While BLOGs are fun, I am more intersted in who is focusing on HAVA, the 32 million the State has to spend on compliance and how 169 towns are impacted. I want a Secretary of State who has explored all the options, talked with the Town Clerks to find out their needs, AND who can help business file their paper work. I will take that over someone who chats on a BLOG any day or the year.

Abigail in CT

PolWatcher said...

Read the "small business" post from June 26 on the blog on the audrey blondin website and then read this website from the state of conn.

I wanted more info about industry clusters which I never heard of and they were talked about in the blondin blog so I searched on the web and I got that state of conn. website -- it looks like she took her whole blog entry on industry clusters and infrastructure and transportation all from that website sometimes exactly the same words. What's up?

MikeCT said...

The Almost Connecticut blogger comments on his experience meeting Andy Fleischmann and other candidates at a progressive political event in SE CT.

Anonymous said...

Hey Polwatcher... I just read your comment about Blondi's web site... I believe that activities like copying are called plagerism. My question is... who else has she stolen from on her web site and if she steals for a web site what else is she willing to steal?

Abigail in CT