A large part of getting elected to an office–ANY office–is letting people get information about you. Although how a candidate goes about this varies with what office they’re running for, a web presence is almost always a good idea. It’s No. 6 on the Tucson Weekly’s helpful 10 Simple Rules for Running for Office and, in today’s high-tech world, it’s just common sense. With that in mind, welcome to ScrambleWatch’s new Internet Presence Evaluator, which is focused on, for now, the Corporation Commission. It’s called “Internet presence” because not everyone has a Web site, silly as that seems, but in at least one instance there’s still something to evaluate.
First up: The Democrats
We’ll start with Sam George. Sam George does not have a Web site. Although damning for any sort of campaign, it’s extra double plus damning when your name now consists of two fairly common first names, you aren’t currently in office and you’ve changed your name. (Note: Before he had two first names, Sam George was known as Sam Vagenas. A hat tip to Tedski for letting us know about that.) Also: When you call the phone number for Sam George on the Arizona Democrats’ Web site, it rings for a while, then has a sorta funny buzz. No answering machine. Sam George is a wisp in the wind, a phantom candidate who doesn’t even seem to exist. Perhaps he’s just too busy challenging the signatures of Marian McClure and Kara Kelty. (Both candidates have a court date in Maricopa County this week to settle that issue.)
Speaking of Kelty, her Web site has a bizarre glitch in it where links can only be clicked before the page fully loads I’ve tried this on two computers, and both of them have the same issue. (Apparently, this is partially because of the outdated version of Internet Explorer here at ScrambleWatch headquarters, although why it doesn’t work on Firefox is another issue). There’s also a “not authorized to view this page” screen that comes up on the “about Kara” section of the site, along with no real capacity to contact her or her campaign on the Web site. It does have a blog from Kelty, and it does a fine job describing what she’s about. Still, it leaves a fair amount to be desired.
Sandra Kennedy’s Web site is much more functional than Kelty’s but it also doesn’t aim quite as high. It’s a fairly sparse, simple design, with no pictures of Kennedy, just a statement of her positions, the standard “give us $5 dollars” page, a volunteer info page, and one of those obnoxious “form E-mail” things. Guh. Here’s a tip everyone: just provide E-mail contact; no one likes filling these things out. There is an E-mail address listed in the press release section, though whether that’s intentional or not is up in the air.
Paul Newman has the king of Democratic Web sites. Seriously. It’s wonderful. Colorful, with a lot of information, contact info for the campaign, not just a form e-mail (the form option is there, too), a clear layout, and a picture that proves this is not the race car enthusiast.
Now on to the Republicans
Marian McClure doesn’t have a campaign Web site, at least not yet. When interviewed, she said McClure4az.com is her Web site, but when you go to that address, you get a godaddy holding page because she’s having some trouble getting her people to set up the site. This is not good, unless the candidate has joined forces with Web giant GoDaddy. On the flip side, McClure has a bit more strategic wiggle room than Sam George, since she isn’t getting confused with soccer goalies. Also, she has her Arizona Legislature page, which is something.
John Allen’s Web site is there. Sure, the issues page is coming soon, but there’s a collection of family pictures for you to look over! Outside of the vacation shots, the site offers little else, though it does at least provide contact information along with the accursed form e-mailer. Web sites like this and Sandra Kennedy’s are somewhat akin to opening an Arby’s. Sure, there’s a Web page, but could you have done more? (Side note on the tangent- Kennedy runs a Denny’s.)
Rick Fowlkes, Keith Swapp and Joe Hobb have a shared Web site. it’s a nice Web site that provides an adequate, if brief, rundown on their views, a biography for each guy, one of those insipid automated e-mail generators (I have a grudge, what can I say?), and a series of answers to questions about their politics on issues completely unrelated to the Corporation Commission. They’re the pro-life Team for the ACC, don’tcha know? It’s a perfectly serviceable Web site, but the funny thing is that Rick Fowlkes has his own separate Web site. It’s a fairly modest affair, possibly left over from Fowlkes’ earlier campaigns, but I still like to imagine the three candidate at a sleepover vowing to have a united Web site, then Fowlkes breaks their solemn pact by making his own Web site. (Maybe I’m the only one who equates politics with middle school, but I doubt it.)
The Bobs (Robson and Stump) have very similar Web sites that are perfectly functional and boring as all get out. They tell you why the candidate’s running, I suppose, but they’re really not that fun. Come on: Work on that color scheme!
Barry Wong, sadly, follows a similar color scheme, though there’s a bit more information present. It’s entirely utilitarian, but there seems to be a bit more consideration put into the content.
Remember: When you think of these candidates’ Web sites, it’s not just an information outlet, it’s a reflection of their own commitment to their campaign. And their money.