Federal Campaigns Spend $1.8 Billion in 2008

Chris Good has the numbers:

Thanks in part to Barack Obama's record-setting fundraising total of $745.7 million, financial activity in the 2008 election increased 80 percent from 2004 for a total of over $1.8 billion, according to the Federal Election Commission.

There's a sense in me that the epic growth in campaign expenditures -- up 80 percent over just the last four years, as the FEC release indicates -- is going to slow down between now and 2012. Of course the economy, which may be picking up by the time the next cycle begins in earnest but certainly is not there yet, would play a role in this slowing of campaign cash. Indeed, the pace of contributions seemed to slow down during the last month of the 2008 campaign as a result of the then-teetering economy. But even beyond that, it's not clear to me that the excitement of 2008, which centered (at least on the Democratic side) on replacing George W. Bush, will be as present in three years as it was last year. Then again, the trajectory of spending has been inexorably upward over the past several decades, so perhaps a slowing is not in fact in the works.

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MN-Sen: Where Things Stand

The legal teams have made their closing arguments and the trial has concluded as the three-judge panel will now deliberate for, likely, a period of weeks to determine who won the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.  Via Minnesota Public Radio, you can listen online to the closing arguments of both the Franken legal team and the Coleman legal team.  When will a decision be handed down?  Talking Points Memo asked a Minnesota election law expert:

Hamline University professor David Schultz tells TPM that he now expects the court to probably rule at some point in the first week of April, with a declaration that Al Franken is the winner.

After the three-judge panel, what will happen next?  There are a couple of possibilities as to how things might (or might not) proceed.  In my analysis, I operate under two assumptions:

A) Norm Coleman is a loser and Washington Republicans know it.  Wait, huh?  If the D.C. Republican establishment know that Coleman is a loser, why do they bother supporting him?  Ultimately, for Republican leadership, an empty seat is as good as a Coleman win.  Why?  The Senate GOP's only weapon is the filibuster.  Whether there are 99 seated Senators or 100 seated Senators, Democrats need 60 votes for cloture.  Therefore, a prolonged legal battle keeping the seat empty is as good as a Coleman win.

(Much more below the fold.)

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Obama's logo and txt vendors

I mentioned this video to a couple of people, about the creation of Obama's logo, and was met by blank stares. It's funny how you can run across something, and think, 'oh, everyone's watched this' and how that's the case at times, but others not. So, here they are, via VSA Partners:

LogoDesignLove has some snags and the story in images-- its ironic how all the other choices were not even close in comparison. Also, a WSJ article on some of the tech firms that Obama's campaign used for txt and online ads.

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Ghana election

The last world election this year is in Ghana. There are reports that Atta Mills has won, and the NDC will have a slim majority to work with, but I was mostly interested, in looking at the campaigns, with the internet tactics being used. I was in Sierra Leone for a couple of years, and while it's not as developed as Ghana is, it's not that far behind either, but the use of the internet in Ghana's candidates is pretty impressive.

It probably helps that there's been a run-off, as that's something that pushes each side to look for trying something new to gain a competitive advantage -- 'compete everywhere' or 'netroots outreach' or 'internet organizing' -- the use of technology to gain such an advantage is something we've practiced for years here in the US, and other countries are emulating those tactics.

Both candidates, Atta Mills and  Afuko Addo use splash pages to try and collect info from their supporters. Take a look through those internet websites, and you'll see they are pretty well developed. Mills is big on MSM, Addo has a unique user ID page that I could create. The use of Facebook is happening, as well as YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter. I would say this surpasses about half of the US Senate campaign website offerings from the '08 campaign. Here's a couple of snags from their websites.

The Mills site:

The Addo imagery:

That looks inspired a little bit off of Obama, doesn't it?  Speaking of which, check this out:

Yes, that's Netanyau ripping off, in entirety, the Obama website. I missed this when it came out last month, but yea, "the idea of Mr. Netanyahu as the Obama candidate of Israel seems mystifying."

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words in a shop window

Every morning on my walk to the bus, I pass the windows of a shop called Bazar.  They sell imports, womens' clothing, shoes, etc.  I often look at the dresses on display with an eye for something my wife would like me to surprise her with.  They often have some posters for bands or performances that I assume the owner fancies.

However, in addition to their normal offerings for eye-candy, they offered something to reflect Barack Obama's election.  Entitled "an historic night" it was several large swaths of white paper hanging in the windows.  The hangings, read from left to right were one-line capsules of events, ideas, statements and thoughts from the beginning of the campaign up to election night.

It was and (is still) a moving experience to see the journey, laid out like a string of moments all in a row.  I had forgotten how some of the moments, victories and losses related to each of the ones that preceded or followed.  Some of them, I had forgotten altogether.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly)

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