"Does any other city in the US have two mayoral candidates who blog in such quality and quantity as Dave and Soglin," asked Sconz reader James Sonneman on Twitter.
If not for Twitter and Facebook, blogs would occupy a much more prominent role in contemporary political campaigns. Nevertheless, it's good to see that the two top candidates for Madison mayor will likely be blogging regularly throughout the campaign. It's good for the voters and, as I will explain, it's good for the candidates.
First, blogging would help both candidates target the high number of undecided or confused voters. Since there is little to distinguish Cieslewicz from Soglin ideologically, both candidates need to convince voters that he is the superior liberal/progressive choice. Blog posts which address city issues will help accomplish this. Twitter and Facebook are good for the base --blog posts are good for everyone else.
Similarly, the spring electorate is better-informed and has a greater attention span for city policy. The Ron Johnson strategy doesn't work on these people; they want candidates who respect their interests. Again, a candidate who regularly blogs and interacts with readers accomplishes this goal. It's not necessarily a problem that 90 percent of the posts on Soglin's blog are actually written by UW Prof. Barry Orton, but readers would probably appreciate some words directly from the candidate, as well as responses to their comments -- something Soglin almost never does.
The only problem is that neither of the candidates blogs are perfectly suited for campaigning. The mayor's blog on the city website obviously cannot be used for overt political purposes, and Soglin's blog has a bizarre name that many googlers would not click on. If I were him I would think about a new site that looks more campaign-y.