One of the things you will be immediately impressed by if you cover the campaign of Chuck DeVore is how active and engaged his online outreach team is. If you write a blog post about DeVore or even send out a tweet about him, you promptly get a response from the campaign, and often something from the candidate himself or his wife. It’s one of the things the Chuck DeVore campaign has done right, and as a result, Chuck DeVore has built a very respectable Twitter following, from the ground up.
It appears now that the NRSC may be attempting to fake the same level of support for their preferred candidate, Carly Fiorina. In the last 36 hours, Fiorina has gone from having over 400 followers (less than your humble correspondent) to having over 8,000 followers; in other words, she’s added over 7,500 followers in the last day and a half. At a glance (and it’s difficult to evaluate these things), the overwhelming majority of these followers appear to be spam/porn/inactive twitterers.
Now, I suppose it is possible that a bunch of people who don’t really use twitter suddenly became interested in following Carly Fiorina’s twitter account. Evidence suggests otherwise, however. As I noted a few days ago, the NRSC recently made a few CYA moves in support of little-known candidate Al Ramirez. Soon after, Al Ramirez suddenly also found himself the beneificiary of thousands of twitter followers; almost the exact same number, in fact as Carly Fiorina. Ramirez was overjoyed by this news and tweeted about it, specifically thanking the NRSC for getting him all the new followers!
I attach a screencap because since that time, this message (specifically thanking the NRSC) has been pulled down, replaced by this somewhat more innocuous tweet thanking… no one in particular for Ramirez’s bounty. It certainly seems that the NRSC has been busy boosting Al Ramirez’s twitter followers and then someone wised up and told him that he shouldn’t mention that. Because, you know, someone might notice that Carly Fiorina has also had her follower count artificially boosted by almost the exact same number and might connect some dots.
Of course, ultimately, this is somewhat of a silly and venial stunt the NRSC appears to have pulled here. That, ultimately, is the major source of the problem. It stinks of amateur hour astroturfing, and more importantly, it discredits the work done by Chuck DeVore and other Republican candidates who have worked hard on their outreach to the online community on the right. This isn’t the kind of situation where I could point out that fairness demands that the NRSC do the same for DeVore, because I’m quite sure DeVore doesn’t want it.