UPDATE: State of the Candidate's Websites, Take 2.

Once again, we are going to take a look at the state of Candidate's Websites for our leading Democratic candidates. The grading system:

F - no website except government site.
D - website with no online contact info (phone/address only) that looks like it was made in Dreamweaver in the 90s.
C - website has online contact info, but is out-of-date with news/bills/action that is listed.
B - website has all of the above and appears to be updated on a regular basis, has a photo page, and a way to donate online.
A - website has all of the above, plus a blog or chatroom, and links to Flickr/YouTube/MySpace/Facebook sites.

So, who rises and who falls?

Governor
Beverly Perdue - F- (last grade, F)
Beverly Perdue has no website available other than her official government page. Same as last time, but I lowered her score even more because I just noticed that her wiki page doesn't even have a picture. Talk about having no online presence....

UPDATE: Richard Moore - A- (last grade C)
Richard Moore has come a long way since last time. He has a new website up with all the required information to earn an A grade. However, as a rough guess I would say the new site went up on May 22, 2007. Why? Because that is the date on ALL THE "issues" that have been published. I'm not nuts about the webpage design, it is too narrow, but at least they are making an honest attempt at having a blog (UPDATE HERE: I had to drop Richard Moore to an A- because his blog doesn't allow comments) and links to Flickr and YouTube (move them away from RSS feeds though please, hard to find). I signed up for the RSS feeds to the blog, which is currently just awful in its design, but is at least updated regularly. Actually, it appears that someone broke the front page of the blog, but if you go to page 2 it is okay. Either way, the design lacks class. Lastly, the header picture, I like it, I really do. The font, the backdrop of people, the candidate, I really like it.
mainHeader

(Having finished this blog post and going back through it, I would have to say that right now Richard Moore has the best site in North Carolina politics. Note that I am saying this as someone who assumed they would support B.P., although I am undecided still).

Michael Munger - A- (last grade A)
Basically same as last time, but not as much fresh content. There also seems to be more of a harsh tone that I associate with Libertarians in his "recent" blog posts. From my last review:

Not a Democrat, but as a loyal reader and poster here at BlueNC, worth a mention. He has donation buttons on the front page (PayPal again), he has an interesting "Visit Every County" page, he has a signature drive Flash graphic (assuming its Flash) on the header, all the standard information links in a sidebar...what's this, Podcasts? Sure enough, including an NPR interview. I'll tell you what, transfer to a real host (looks suspiciously like Blogger), tone down the graphics up top, and you get an A+. As it is, he lacks things like a Flickr page to track your activities, a good calendar, and videos of events - still he gets an A.



Lieutenant Governor
Walter Dalton - B (last time N/A)
Senator Dalton has put together a real website since last time. If I were to give this a time-stamp, I would probably call it a 2004 website. Biography, lots of text, no interactive section, no social networking. A "good" site as far as design, but lacking in depth.

Dan Besse - B- (last time, B)
First off, the site is slow, slow, slow, slow. The site hasn't changed much since the last time, except now there are "Action Center", "Volunteer" and "Contribute" buttons on top of the web page. Of course, they DON'T WORK. But, hey, we can't all be perfect. Oh, sorry, YES WE CAN! Dan, get someone to fix those buttons. The news stories now have hyperlinks to the original stories, that's good. There appears to be a blog. I say appears to be because, well, here is the top story.
beese
Yeah, that is white type on a yellow background. Oops. Seriously, I apologize if he has a family member doing his website, because I know how proud I would be if my son did my website, heck I'm proud when he makes his own Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches - but he's also 5. I actually knock this site down a peg because so much isn't working, otherwise it might have climbed into the "A-" range.

Hampton Dellinger - B+, same as last time.
Pretty much the same as it was last time. A big donate button, an easy way to sign up for "updates". There are some new things. The "Manage HD for LG" idea is interesting, maybe I missed it last time or else it is new.

Hampton wants your input on the most effective use of campaign resources in your area. Should the Dellinger Campaign buy bumper stickers, or yard signs? On which radio and t.v. channels should we advertise? How about local papers and internet sites? The Dellinger Campaign welcomes your input at OurCampaign@HDforLtGov.com.

The RSVP link is a bit odd, no actual events, just asking you to chip in $4000 for an event "near you". The photos page is....cheesy, and it doesn't take advantage of something like Flickr or Photobucket where social networking could be tied in. The pictures are static, they don't take you to a description of why he was there, etc. The news section hasn't been updated since January. All in all, not bad, but not good enough to break into the A category, again this is a 2004 election site.

Pat Smathers - A- (last time, C+)
Big improvement for Pat, I think this guy is serious. ; )
Not only has his website become top-notch, with all the things I'd like to see, but Pat even has a YouTube account . However, someone has to work on the sound quality for the next event. The link for Pat's online journal still takes you to his BlueNC account, which I like - obviously. All in all, a HUGE improvement. Add more video, picture, and write-ups about the massive number of events you have been doing, and this leaps to the top of candidate websites in NC. Oh, except one thing. On a press page, when you link to a photo of yourself, it shouldn't be THIS. It should be a big, high-res image for republication.



Democratic Leadership:

Speaker Joe Hackney - D (last time C)
No changes since the last update, so I dropped his grade.

Our new speaker has one of those Dreamweaver sites I was talking about. The news is occasionally updated (his election in November and his Speakership in January are the last two events), he has lots of contact info, including his personal email and information in Spanish. His links are updated, including the "Bills" he has submitted, which is pretty good. Regardless, not quite a B.

Speaker Pro Tempore William L. Wainwright - F- (last time F)

No website. Tsk, tsk.

Majority Leader Hugh Holliman - F- (last time F)

No website. Tsk, tsk.

Verla Insko - C
I have to take some responsibility for the lack of change here, Verla asked me a long time ago if I knew anyone who built websites that might be interested in working on a new site for her. So, anyone interested?

Senator Marc Basnight - F
No site.

Senator Charlie Smith Dannelly - F
No site.

Senator Tony Rand - F
No site.



As for the Republican leadership.

Fred Smith - A
This Republican has a great site, ready-made from what someone has said. Either way, he spent some money and got a good site. Interestingly, the hidden text that appears on google when you search for the site says this:

Fred Smith (R-Johnston) will face off against Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-Craven) in the race for NC Governor in 2008.On the Republican side, ...

Republican Leader Phil Berger - Has a site.

Deputy Republican Leader Tom Apodaca - Has a site (with glamour shot).
headshot

House Minority Leader Paul Stam - Has a site.



All in all, a few good changes, but no one in North Carolina REALLY looking to take the mantle of "Netroots candidate". Of course, I didn't cover Larry Kissell, who qualifies as a Netroots Candidate by the virtue of being...well, a Netroots Candidate. We still have no one running against Elizabeth Dole, so that would be the other website I would like to see. Looking back on what I've written, I have to say that Richard Moore is positioned to become the netroots candidate for Governor, but there hasn't been any attempt on the part of his campaign to do it. Actually, I believe that his campaign was sockpuppeting here on BlueNC at one point, posting negative stories about Bev Perdue. Still, an early faux pas should not discourage him from taking what is an excellent website and turning it into a web PRESENCE.

I have several hopes for the blogs in North Carolina come 2008.

  1. We find a candidate to run against Elizabeth Dole who embraces the internet and uses is as effectively as Webb and Tester to corral national attention and dollars.
  2. That Les Merritt becomes the Republican against which we run an insurgent netroots campaign.

Governor, great. Lt. Governor, sure. But, who the heck knows anything about the State Auditor? Well, what if we change that? What if the Democrat who comes out of the primary has the internet firmly on his/her side? Activists filming every Merritt event, bloggers posting constant updates on his doings and "undoings". Positive coverage of the events/policies/happenings revolving around the Democratic candidate.

How much name recognition can we bring to the candidate? How much negative press can we bring to Merritt? Things like this from the NCDP:

Republican State Auditor Les Merritt’s website explains that the Auditor’s office exists “to ensure that our state government executes its management responsibilities in compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies.” [http://www.ncauditor.net/webproject/default.asp?intro_full]

But when it comes to his own business affairs, Mr. Merritt has a hard time following the law.

When he’s not working as State Auditor, Mr. Merritt is the president of LDC Mobile Estates, Inc. State law requires all corporations to file an annual report with the Secretary of State’s office.

But Mr. Merritt has failed to submit required paperwork and now his annual reports for 2004 and 2005 have been rejected. It also appears that his annual report for 2006 will soon be rejected as well. [http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/AnnualReportCount.aspx?PItemId=6457211]

“Mr. Merritt expects others in government to be meticulous in filing reports,” said NCDP Chair Jerry Meek. “Perhaps he should practice what he preaches. Either Mr. Merritt is incompetent, or he just doesn’t believe in following the law. Either way, voters should be worried.”

Webb, Tester, and even Lamont were national wake-up calls that the netroots is for real and that Web 2.0 can be the downfall of old-fashioned, "macaca" politics. Now, we need to bring this message to North Carolina and I think a Senate seat and an Auditors seat would do just that.

Comments

If I forgot anyone this time, let me know.

At the local level, Chapel Hill Council Candidate WillR has a good site.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

UPDATE:

As noted in the article, Richard Moore's blog doesn't allow comments. While this is common on Republican blogs, it is pretty much unheard of on Democratic blogs.

Mr. Moore, tear down this wall....to comments.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Will differ with you on this one

Open comments means someone has to tend them...answer questions, etc. Josh Marshall doesn't have open comments at TPM and it's still considered a blog. I don't think candidates have the time or money to tend their blogs or pay someone else to do it. I give candidates a pass even if by definition what they have really isn't what we consider a real blog.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I've seen this debated on socnet sites

And, basically a blog has to have comments, otherwise it qualifies as something else.

The comments could be moderated if that is what they are worried about.
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I don't think a "blog" has to allow comments

A blog can basically be a diary of your own ideas.

I think it's a good idea if it does allow comments, however, Betsy's right - if it does allow comments, it takes maintenance, and maintenance costs time and money.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

nice work indeed...

...perhaps an evaluation of the congressional candidate sites?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

the sunshine foundation...

...rates incumbent websites, but sadly, not opposition candidate sites.

and as you noted, the criteria are more limited than the more comprehensive look at the sites we find here.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

I haven't forgotten Wayne by the way.

There are substantiated rumors that Wayne Goodwin is considering another run, another race I think we could impact. The website is bad Wayne! But, nothing official yet so I gave him a break. Although, I wonder if there will be a YouTube announcement online before the official announcement, as with John Edwards? C'mon Wayne, you can do it!!!
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

This is excellent Robert

I don't expect candidates to be experts on web design, but it is vital that they place enough importance on the web as a form of communication to hire someone to put together a good site. The internet isn't a fluke or a gimmick. It is and is fast becoming an even more important means of communication and it is time for our public figures to move beyond email.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

A majority of people who use the internet

will use it to find out about candidates, whether now or the day before the election. And, those people vote. I think the candidates are realizing the importance of the internet, but they aren't really tapping into its potential as anything beyond being a "brochure".
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Great job . . . lots of hard work.

Much appreciated.

I increasingly find candidate sites to be not very useful because they don't nail down specifics on issues. But I suspect that's not a problem for most people who are looking for good pictures and a general feeling. Another dimension of the digital divide, I suspect.

Thanks for doing this.

I think websites bridge the divide when they reach...

the stage of being a social network. On Richard Moore's site for instance, you can read about his positions, or you can go and watch YouTube videos of him discussing his stances. Campaigns could also put issue bullet points in Flickr video captions as another way of educating. Blog posts are an obvious way of getting your point across - of course I don't think many people will be reading the blog posts on Hamp Dellinger's site (for example), unless of course they become a personal conversation between the candidate and the voters. This isn't a Presidential campaign, where an "advisor" can keep the attention of the public.
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

The "Manage HD for LG" option

has been there for some time. I sent them an email on 12/8/06, but I never got a response from the campaign. I told the campaign that Hamp should come on here to introduce himself and maybe do a live-blogging session. He's stopped by once or twice, I think, so maybe they listen and just don't respond.

wiki

While very little is official in wikipedia, many wikipedians seem to feel that candidates and campaign staff have no business contributing to pages that concern the campaign.

I strongly disagree with this concept (you can't be neutral on a moving train), but it is one that some people have.

All this is to say, I wouldn't hold a campaign responsible for the quality of any wikipedia article, which is a global project subject to many variables.

- - - - -
Les Merritt, Toady Extraordinaire
Where is Liddy?
Sanford-Hunt: Aug 25th

There might be no place for sock-puppetry on Wiki

But, if I'm a staffer responsible for online content of the Democratic Party or of a candidate for a Democratic office - I make sure there is a picture uploaded into said candidate's wiki. It's not hard. In fact..........
there, took me five minutes to find an official portrait and figure out how to upload it.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

sock-puppetry

Yeah it's not hard. The problem is with the licensing. Wiki is paranoid about image licensing. The image you uploaded was previously attached to the page, but removed because of a problem with licensing.

(That's why I added that less than ideal photo, because I personally own it. The official photo is much better; if the wiki-police don't find an excuse to remove it.)

- - - - -
Les Merritt, Toady Extraordinaire
Where is Liddy?
Sanford-Hunt: Aug 25th

What photo are you talking about?

i haven't seen any photo other than their request for a photo.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

look here

Look here (you get here by clicking the history tab from the main article): Bev Perdue Wiki History

and then look at 06:59, 21 December 2006

The same thing will eventually happen to the image you put up, they will take it down because you licensed it as a Federal work, when in fact it is a State work.

Getting frustrated yet? Join the EFF or IPAC

- - - - -
Les Merritt, Toady Extraordinaire
Where is Liddy?
Sanford-Hunt: Aug 25th

Beware OrphanBot: this fate may await your image

OrphanBot (Talk | contribs)
(Removing image with no source information. Such images that are older than seven days may be deleted at any time.)
Newer edit →

Unsourced image removed: [[Image:Beverly_Perdue.gif |thumb|300px|right|North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Bevery Perdue]]

- - - - -
Les Merritt, Toady Extraordinaire
Where is Liddy?
Sanford-Hunt: Aug 25th

I saw that on my Google Reader

I should have dropped off a Thank You I guess....
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

It's an RSS feed reader

I like having all my stuff in one place, so I use Google, although I have heard you can use Thunderbird as well.
http://www.google.com/help/reader/tour.html

I have about 40 or 50 feeds that I check, not that many really.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

oh right

I used to have an RSS reader. It was a productivity nightmare! I would work 16 hours straight and accomplish about 5 hours worth of work because I was looking at every single thing posted on the internet.

But it reminds me, I should make sure that people can view the NCDP RSS okay. Anybody signed up for it? I think it lives here: http://ncdp.org/rss.xml

- - - - -
Les Merritt, Toady Extraordinaire
Where is Liddy?
Sanford-Hunt: Aug 25th

Yes, it works great.

I tend to browse it first thing in the morning and then again at lunchtime. That is where my link blogs come from, interesting things I've read on my RSS feeds.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Great stuff

This is a true indication of whether or not a candidate "gets it". I have a theory that a candidate's website is indicative of their level of fresh thinking and new ideas. Simply put, candidates with up-to-date websites that allow users to become a part of the campaign are more likely to bring innovative policy solutions to the table.

Hopefully, as we get cranking in this campaign, the websites will get better. There's so much potential for these folks to engage supporters, and most of them are just completely missing out. Props to Moore and Smathers - they seem to have figured it out to some extent.

An indicator of fresh thinking.

I agree, also an indicator that they care about "them", the outsiders who haven't had a voice before.
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

This email bothered me.

It iritates me that fundraising luck and skill is equated with a politician being the "chosen one" way before an actual vote by the people takes place.

This email message jarred me.

Dalton4ltgov

Sorry, just because you have money, know money, attract money, it doesn't mean you are any better than any other candidate and I think it's tacky using it for a campaign tool.

To my knowledge.

Have you called to support H. Res 333 Impeach Cheney Today? call 202-224-3121 & ask for your Congress member by name

The question becomes....

what are you going to do about it?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

What I just did...

gripe about it.

Have you called to support H. Res 333 Impeach Cheney Today? call 202-224-3121 & ask for your Congress member by name

Hmmm

Sorry, just because you have money, know money, attract money, it doesn't mean you are any better than any other candidate and I think it's tacky using it for a campaign tool.

"Tool" just may be the operative word, there.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

To my knowledge

You've been spending too much time around Anglico. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I noticed that as well : )

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Intentional.

n/t

Have you called to support H. Res 333 Impeach Cheney Today? call 202-224-3121 & ask for your Congress member by name

Thanks

Robert, thanks so much for the comments and taking the time to grade all the web sites. There is no better way to connect with voters today than through the Internet, and having an accessible, useful site is a cornerstone of my grassroots campaign. While we're still working to add more content to the site (and an improved picture for press purposes), I believe the site already conveys our commitment to building a better North Carolina by turning to its citizens. We are also using Facebook to assemble a grassroots/volunteer network that will be of great use come primary time: We currently have 229 members who are proud to display their support of our message on their pages. As my family and I continue to travel across the state, I am sure we will befriend many more North Carolinians interested in bringing new ideas and fresh approaches to Raleigh.

In the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about fundraising numbers. Yes, money is important, but it should never be the end goal of any campaign. We are starting our major fundraising push on August 25 in my hometown of Canton with a party preceding the Beach Boys concert at the high school stadium; tickets are priced so anyone can attend. I am confident we will raise enough money to compete over the next few months. We will also be victorious in May because of the grassroots network we are assembling: Anetwork of people who believe in taking "local leadership, statewide." Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.

P.S. - One of the coming improvements for our site includes an updated blog that will address current issues, such as the recent tragedy in Minnesota. This bridge failure highlights the need for the state to entrust municipalities with monitoring infrastructure and funding critical repairs. Remember, our local people are always the first to respond in these events; it's our responsibility to be there for them.

I've been impressed with your campaign since I met you and Zeb

at the State Exec Committee. I think you've got the right idea - covering grassroots and netroots at the same time. A true 21st century statesman. Looking forward to you coming to the central part of the state.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I'm really sorry I have to be at this month's SEC meeting

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

I know the feeling Sam

As National Commiteeman for the Young Democrats of NC, part of my duties require me to serve on the SEC. Which means I will be at the meeting on Aug. 25, which means I will have to miss part of Dad's party. However, I plan to try to leave early and make it back for part of the party and all of the Beach Boys concert. Which means, Sam, if you or anybody else wants to go, I am sure the cops will ticket me before catching y'all. Haha. In all seriousness, I look forward to meeting and seeing any and all BlueNCers, as well as old friends from our politcal past travels, at the SEC and the Beach party...

Esse Quam Videri

Not to the Smathers dudes

At least put "Beach Boys" in bold. Should be somehow snuck into the comment subject line so those not on this thread see it along the side and go "hmmm Beach Boys . . .that might be interesting." When you have a big name you've got to pimp it with all your heart.
 
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

BEACH BOYS concert? That's sounds so cool

I'd love to be there. Too bad you're missing it.

See. Of course, I have another angle to work. You'll have to be more creative.

Like "I'm so bummed I have to miss the BEACH BOYS concert." Something like that.
 
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

yeah but

How many times do you get to tell the son of an elected official who is running for higher office that he is being too humble?

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Good point.

And that's why I bother with the somewhat patronizing advice. Because they're worth it. They're so busy worrying about the substance of their stances that they miss the pimping opportunities. And, you have to admit humbleness only gets one so far in life . . .
 
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

hmm

Google Disagrees:

Bev Perdue
Welcome to the Online Home of Tom Allen for Senate.
www.bevperdue.com/ - 2k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"