We've had a few announcements lately and some non-announcment, announcements. So, I thought it was time to do a little digging and see what candidates have in the way of websites. I'm also going to look at our Democratic leaders, at least those that I know or those who are "progressive" leaning. The grades will be based on the following, which is my take of what the leading candidates are doing nationwide.
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C - website has online contact info, but is out-of-date with news/bills/action that is listed.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.
Beverly Perdue - F
Beverly Perdue has no website available other than her official government page.
Richard Moore - C
Richard Moore has a state-run website, and a campaign website. The first thing I noticed, and I do mean the first thing, is that he is using the same picture on both sites, different background, but look at the hairs out of place and you'll see they must have done a bluescreen photo.
That is lame enough to knock him down a grade, but I won't. His news section hasn't been updated in six months, his photo gallery is old and not updated, and he has limited contact information. All in all, a solid C grade.
Michael Munger - A
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.
Dan Besse - B
Mr. Beese has a campaign website up and running. He's got a donations button on the front page (is that Pay Pal?), an email update page hidden in the contact info, photo galleries that include an RSS feed(!), a news box where the stories aren't hyperlinked, and site navigation that is tiny but present. Style-wise it fizzles, but content wise it gets a B.
Hampton Dellinger - B+
As the youngest candidate in the bunch, I go in expecting more of Mr. Dellinger and his personal website. The site is not sexy, even though it has almost everything I am looking for in a candidate site. It has a big donate button in the right sidebar of every page. It's got a Press package page with photos (you need more and higher quality, and lose the jacket over the shoulder), it has his announcement video on the front page. I think it is a B+/A-; but it doesn't have links to any info on Flickr, Youtube, etc and it doesn't have a blog. So, B+ it is.
Pat Smathers - C+
Pat Smathers has a personal website. It is pretty basic, but he gets props for having this at the top of the front page: New! Read Pat's blog at http://www.bluenc.com/blog/psmathers2008
. So, I guess in some ways that gives him a blog. The rest is really bare-boned, though. So, I'm going to settle and give him C+. There is no online giving button (ActBlue people!), the info that is there is sparse, and it is mostly text-based.
James Harrell, III - N/A
I don't know, there was one mention in the N&O of his running, but just met him and there was no hints to that effect. Also, an absolutely horrid website that I won't link to out of respect. N/A until we find out he is running.
Walter Dalton - N/A
Same thing here, his website is a disaster but I haven't really heard that he is running except in that one N&O story.
Cynthia D. Brown - N/A
Same again, no facts I have heard, just wikirumors and no website at all.
A.B. Swindell -
I haven't really heard that he is running except in that one N&O story.
Speaker Joe Hackney - C+
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
No website. Tsk, tsk.
Majority Leader Hugh Holliman - F
No website. Tsk, tsk.
Dan Blue - N/A
He gets a pass for his recent appointment to the House. He has no website and those of us who visit this site regularly know THAT is unacceptable for reasons that we won't go into. Tsk, tsk.
Verla Insko - C
Has a personal website, but hasn't been updated in parts since 2001/2002. Tsk, tsk.
All in all, I have to say that I am pretty damn disappointed in the candidate websites. We have a new playing field out there, the midcourt of which is online. You still need GOTV and the classic networks to score inside the red zone, but the nets will put you in range. Given that, it's disappointing that North Carolina, once again, is at the back of the pack. If only we had a central place in the state, close to the capital, where thousands of tech experts lived and worked and volunteered for their party.
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