Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, July 5, 2010

CA: Old Jerry v. E-Meg

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman barely paused to take a breath after her landslide primary victory, saturating the airwaves with ads, raising money across the state, trying to woo traditionally Democratic voters and using her massive campaign machine to drive the conversation in her race against rival Jerry Brown.

Brown, meanwhile, is off the air, has yet to reach out to key voter blocs in any strategic way and has gotten more attention for gaffes than for policy proposals.

Part of the contrast is the result of the yawning funding gap between Whitman, a billionaire who has put $91 million of her own money into her effort, and Brown, who has had to scramble for donations in a stressed economy.

It's also the byproduct of Brown's campaign, which boasts a shoestring staff and a candidate who is proud of his frugality and last campaigned in a major election nearly two decades ago.

Use of campaign technology is one obvious difference. Jack Chang reports at the Sacramento Bee:

While political campaigns used to take hours to review and comment on video shot by their spies, the turnaround has become nearly instantaneous this year.

That means a politician's gaffe can be seen by thousands of people online within minutes of it happening. It also means a tracker can be anyone with a cell phone, rather than a camcorder.

During a recent talk by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, for example, Whitman's spokesmen were watching a live feed of the speech and blasting e-mail responses to his comments even as the event was under way.

The Whitman campaign has broken new ground by using tools such as Ustream and iPhones to transmit live video from trackers.

"This has become a fundamental operation for every campaign across the country," said Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei. "In fact, Jerry Brown Inc. has been tracking Meg for months. Our campaign is using technology to distribute information from public events in a more efficient way."

Read more: