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Online Consultant Says 'Web Guys' Need to Put Fundraising First

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 23 2011

Justin Hart, who was California U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore's new media director, says online consultants should focus on fundraising to stay relevant to their campaigns:

Make it about fundraising; pay your own way; make an appropriate profit off of the money you bring in and you will be a trusted advisor to the campaign. Eventually, the “web guys” will be seen as the must have hires out of the gate. Until then, we have to prove our worth by raising lots of money online.

In the 2010 cycle, cash was certainly king. Politico dubbed it the year of the missing candidate, as politicians, ducked the press en masse in favor of fund-raising events and their own online messaging. Arizona's Sharron Angle, candidate for U.S. Senate in Nevada, famously explained this strategy in blunt terms: She had opted to only appear in places where showing up would raise her money. She also had a prolific direct mail campaign — to the benefit of her consultants, mostly.

It's unclear if that allocation of resources had anything to do with how the Republican Party won the House of Representatives, given the political tides of the time and the tendency for the president's party to lose ground during midterms. Neither DeVore, who lost the Republican nomination to Carly Fiorina, nor Angle, who lost in Nevada to Harry Reid, succeeded — but Boxer outraised Fiorina, and Reid raised nearly as much as Angle. The Nevada and California U.S. Senate races were two of the most expensive in the country last year.

Agree with Hart? Disagree? Post in comments or email me your thoughts.