I am a transplant to Connecticut from New York about 6 years ago and, as a confessed political junkie, I quickly got up to speed on local politics. I live in the New Haven area and have spent time working in Fairfield County and now Study in Hartford.
I have a master's degree in political science focused on electoral politics and process and am currently in my first year of law school. As a result, my posting will be light until the semester ends (May 22) and every once in a great while, I may subject you to a post on electoral process.
I am a registered Democrat and will coming at you from a left perspective. As such, while I will be doing original reporting as well, please feel free to consider anything I write as editorial comment. I make no claims as to my objectivity.
Without further ado:
Gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy (Democratic Mayor of Stamford) has issued a press release announcing the creation of a website "dedicated exclusively for delegates to the Democratic State Convention on May 20."
Disclosure: I have met both candidates at forums at the law school and found them both to be engaging, but I have not yet decided how I will vote in the primary.
From the press release (updated for link):
Dubbed the Convention Survival Guide, it is devoted entirely to the needs of Democratic Convention delegates and helps them navigate the challenging and sometimes confusing State Convention process.
"Political conventions are exciting, but they can also be confusing and stressful," said Malloy. "If there is a way to lessen the stress, improve communications and have a little fun along the way, then that's what we're going to do."
The site offers several useful features -- general logistical help, venue and staff contact information, links to other related websites, tips and advice for surviving the event, and a printable Convention scorecard to help track the day's voting. The site even boasts a Convention countdown clock to remind delegates of the fast-approaching event.
First of all, it is fantastic to see a politician actually use the internet, much less use it in a new and creative way. If this doesn't secure him a single additional convention vote, it will be worth the effort for the benefit it brings to the convention-goers and for any goodwill it engenders with any delegates that are otherwise committed, but who will be called upon in the general election should Malloy win the primary.
That said, this is an interesting strategy with respect to the Lamont delegates (and other delegates who are undecided) who do not necessarily have a horse in the gubernatorial primary. It seems that both candidates are (understandably) shy about criticizing a sitting Democratic Senator; I would imagine that both are also plotting ways to lure Lamont delegates, who may not be primarily interested in the gubernatorial race, into their camps. Given their reluctance to criticize Senator Lieberman, both candidates will have to be creative in fashioning their appeal to the Lamont delegates. Consider this Malloy's first attempt to bring undecided delegates (of all stripes) in to the fold.
At the very least, this delegate-portal, assuming it is publicized and used (and valuable), will introduce Malloy to delegates who may have been following the Senate primary, but not paying much attention to the race for the gubernatorial nomination. At best, it could convince undecided delegates that Malloy has the organization and the creativity to be the best bet to unseat (what polling indicates is) an overwhelming favorite in November.
I have not yet seen the delegate-only site, so I am not sure how valuable it is. I have a call in to the campaign requesting access; I will update this post when and if I get a chance to poke around and see what they have to offer.
UPDATE: I have looked around the site. It's at an early stage, but I would judge it to be both as useful as it could possibly be and not really all that useful at the same time. It is impossible (or at least it should be) to fault the Malloy campaign for the lack of information regarding the convention that is currently available.
Also, they have venue information before the venue is even set in stone! The Malloy team is clearly providing every scrap of information that they can.
That said, the delegate scorecard is, well, cool (remember you are reading a vote-counting junkie). As is the continuously running countdown (as opposed to a static countdown that only refreshes as the page refreshes).
The site includes some light-hearted touches like Trivia (which, for people who are politically involved enough to be delegates to a Democratic convention, was a little on the easy side), Fun Facts, Survival Tips (why is "Where comfortable shoes" a survival tip for absolutely everything?), and quotes from delegates.
Most importantly, it has contact information for the various Malloy Campaign Representatives - this is a helpful site, but is also intended to win some votes. In sum, based on what little I have seen (this site and their blog), this campaign is leveraging the power of the internet very well.
Note: For anyone in the Hartford area, the UCONN Law School Democrats will be hosting 2nd District Congressional Candidate Joe Courtney tomorrow at 12:30. The 2nd District race has been identified as a "toss up" by The Cook Political report, one of the "five races that will determine the control of the House next year” by the Washington Post, and incumbent Republican Rob Simmons has been called one of the “10 Most Endangered House Incumbents" by Stuart Rothenberg in Roll Call. I will blog about the event sometime tomorrow afternoon. If you come by, say Hi - I will be the one typing furiously.
Wade, Julia, Dan Malloy for Governor Launches First Delegate-Only Website. Dan Malloy Campaign Press Release, April 17, 2005.
Courtney, Joe, Untitled. Joe Courtney Campaign Email Update, Undated (February, 2006).