Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Signs of the Season:
Patricia Madrid for Congress

(In 2004, I worked in this New Mexico district -- the prospects never looked this favorable.)

...signs, as anyone who has been playing this game for more than six months knows, are the telltale signs of organization, passion and personal ownership of a candidacy.

New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan

It looks like incumbent Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson of Albuquerque may be ousted this time around. The challenger, Democratic state Attorney General Madrid, is not only getting out more many more signs than Wilson according to locals, but also leads in some polls. The district leans slightly Democratic but previous challenges to Wilson have flopped. Perhaps most tellingly, 69 percent of early requests for absentee ballots have come from Democrats.

Madrid is not only getting her signs up everywhere. Her campaign website features an Action Center providing numerous forms and levels of involvement to potential volunteers. It is a model of what campaigns need to do better and more consciously: offer anyone with the slightest interest a chance to feel ownership of a piece of the candidate by working for her/his election.

Here's Madrid's list of possible activities, each of which offers a link to a "how to" explanation:
  • Vote from home. Vote absentee.
  • Sign a petition to the Republican Congress -- and Heather Wilson -- to stop catering to big oil companies.
  • Make your voice heard; tell Madrid what issues you care about by filling out a questionnaire.
  • Volunteer.
  • Contribute money.
  • Sign an endorsement.
  • Write a letter about Madrid to a local newspaper -- with talking points and an email link to the paper of your choice.
  • Spread the word to friends via an email form.
  • Sign up for text message updates on your phone.
  • Call talk radio with talking points and phone numbers.
  • Display a yard sign or bumper sticker.
  • Join Bloggers for Madrid.
  • Find your polling place and vote.
All simple things, probably not very heavily used, but an exemplary list of ways to use a website to build campaign enthusiasm. No wonder this campaign has the energy Monahan notes -- and it looks like Albuquerque will get a Democratic congressperson!

UPDATE: 11/9/06: Damn, Wilson again. And in the context of a Richardson landslide. Have to say, this reduces my enthusiasm for his Presidential bid.

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