In UT, local candidates discover Web, podcasts, YouTube

Local candidates are proving just as savvy as national candidates at making use of emerging technologies.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

While 2004 was the breakthrough year for Internet electioneering, 2006 is the year the online campaigning really exploded. It's hard to imagine how the Internet will change the presidential election in 2008.

In Utah, the Web-ification of the campaign trail has played out in several interesting directions, notes the Deseret Morning News.

Pete Ashdown, a Democrat and founder of Internet provider XMission, has gained national media attention this fall because he created a MySpace page to help with his campaign against Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Other big-ticket candidates have turned to blogging, or have used groups of college-age supporters on social networking sites like Facebook to campaign.

Leslie Lewis, a 3rd District judge in Utah, has garnered attention from a YouTube video that shows her berating a local man about hunting and expressing her bias against hunting.

Local candidates are taking just as much advantage of emerging net technologies as national candidates. According to a survey by the newspaper, several local candidates swear by the net. For two candidates for state senate, websites and podcasts are critical.

Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, said his Web site is "critical" to his campaign. His opponent, Joe Jarvis, uses podcasts:

Podcasting, Jarvis said, is a way for him to have "voice contact" with people in his district. "You absolutely have to have another way to talk to people," he said. "A Web site is so convenient."

Art Haddow, a Republican candidate in House District 31, decided to host a series of online debates about issues like transportation, education and taxes. The debates can be found at 31stdistrictdebates.com. Each candidate in the race has a chance to post comments about a specific issue.

"It's just a supplement," Haddow said. "I can send fliers out and people get an idea of what I stand for, but I think the debate issue really puts it to a head."

Editorial standards