Though Peter Munoz is late in bringing an online component to his Madison mayoral campaign, he is the only candidate in that race who boasts a MySpace page. That's right, Munoz is diving into the ocean of social networking. "We need to appeal to a younger demographic," says Dan Guerra, a close associate and volunteer for the Munoz campaign who is taking charge of its online arm.
Also, after several weeks without one, he finally launched an official campaign Web site on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Available at munozformadison.com, the site is similar to the online homes of the two other major competitors in the race, right down to the domain name. Munoz presents a list of five major campaign issues, a calendar, links to news coverage, and a means for online donations. It's all pretty standard stuff, with the only significant element currently missing being a list of endorsements.
The site was conceived, built and is hosted by Guerra, a high-profile young tech businessman in Madison who became involved in the Common Sense Coalition with Munoz when it launched in the summer of 2005. Guerra says he's contributing his work on the site up to the campaign finance limits, after which his company will start charging for the services. "We want to be sure we follow all of the campaign finance laws," he says.
Guerra is optimistic about Munoz's online strategy. "I think we're really taking the Howard Dean approach to campaigning online," he says. "For the next two weeks, and after the primary, the sites are going to be key components of spreading Munoz's message." Guerra is especially hopeful about the potential of social networking.
"We'll have a team that's working on it, campaign volunteers that will help manage both the website communications and managing the MySpace page," he says. Indeed, social networking is a campaign tactic that's taking off -- including in races for the Madison Common Council -- and it would be no surprise if any of Munoz's competitors follow suit.
The other three candidates continue to be active online. Ray Allen recently launched a new version of his campaign Web site after taking down his initial version last year following questions about its hosting. Dave Cieslewicz, meanwhile, launched a video component to his campaign today, a timely way to focus attention on his campaign through the hot online format.