They met in a bar in Northern Virginia. There was a fourth person there too, who has chosen to remain anonymous.
Josh Trevino, who’d been running Tacitus, Ben Domenech, and Mike Krempasky hatched the idea of RedState. At the time, it was RedState.org. I remember reading on Tacitus that a new site was coming online and they were looking for people to write about the politics of their states.
I signed up to write about Georgia.
Thomas Crown was here before me intimidating us all with big words and a blamstick that left us all in awe. He, with Josh, Ben, and Mike really ruled the roost. They found out early on that not only was I running races in Georgia, but i was also an election law lawyer. They needed a free one and more and more I was put in charge of stuff.
The site’s original motto was “Collaborative Republicanism.” Over the years we shifted from long form content to more and more activist oriented materials. We were willing to pick fights inside the GOP and to support candidates. Our first, in 2004, was Senator Tom Coburn, who we dubbed Senator Trainwreck. We raised money, wrote about him, and exposed his opposition.
By November of 2004, RedState was already the most widely cited right-of-center blog in the media and we had a growing community of activists from around the country. It became clear RedState was a place those in power could come to connect with the activists who got them there.
Over the years, if you’ve wanted to be a front page writer at RedState, you first had to be active in the diaries and comments. Almost every current front page writer who wasn’t here at the beginning has started that way. This year we are committed to improving the diary experience for all of you.
In October of 2004, we picked up our friend Clayton, who out of the blue emailed and said he could keep our servers from crashing. They were constantly crashing because of heavy traffic. None of us knew Clayton from Adam, but we gave him the passwords and eventually named him CEO of the group. Turned out he was from Atlanta, with Tommy Crown and me.
In 2005, I formally took over the lead at RedState, leaving behind my law practice and campaign consulting. Five years after our genesis we started the RedState Gathering.
This year, in Fort Worth, Texas, we will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the RedState Gathering and the tenth anniversary of RedState. It is going to be awesome.
Ten years ago, four friends flipped a switch, pressed some buttons, and have helped make history. Thanks Josh, Ben, Mike, and you who shall be nameless.