Colorado GOP Race Prompts Facebook Attack Page

Could this be the first Facebook “hit” page? Political attack sites – sometimes called “hit” sites – are flooding the Web as the 2010 elections edge closer, but a new form of hit site has surfaced in Colorado’s contentious Republican Senate primary race. The centerpiece? Pink stilettos.

GOP primary hopeful Ken Buck has borne the brunt of a backlash against a comment he made during a campaign stop after a voter asked why people should choose him. “Because I do not wear high heels,” Buck responded, adding that his cowboy boots are caked with genuine “bulls**t.” Buck is running against Jane Norton in the primary, and her campaign is taking advantage of Buck’s gender-themed gaffe in TV ads, an attack website, search advertising, and on Facebook.

facebook-buckstopshere2010-norton

A Facebook page entitled The Buck Stops Here (Facebook.com/TheBuckStopsHere) has only around 425 “likes,” but the Norton campaign is promoting it through Google search ads. Posts to the page include links to news coverage of Buck’s footwear comment, which have been fueled by viral distribution of a YouTube video capturing it. Norton’s official campaign Facebook page has around 4,855 likes.

“We want to use every possible avenue that we can to reach to voters,” said Norton campaign spokesperson Cinamon Watson, who declined to share any more about the Facebook effort.

The campaign is also hoping the Facebook page will drive donations and e-mail signups. Tabs allow supporters to click to donate or submit an e-mail address. Another tSave and publishab links to a page featuring a video of the TV ad.

“It costs $200 to run the ‘High Heels’ TV-Ad. Donate $200 today and we’ll send you one of these t-shirts,” the campaign posted on July 24. A photo shows the back of the shirt which features a giant stiletto beside the words, “The Buck Stops Here,” all in eye-catching electric pink.

The Colorado primary will be held August 10.

UPDATE:
As surmised, The Buck Stops Here is not the first Facebook attack page. Indeed, low-tax proponent Club For Growth believes its Facebook.com/StopBobBennett page contributed to the defeat of longtime Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah in the state’s Republican convention in June.

The goal, said David Keating, executive director at Club for Growth, was to drive anti-Bennett voters to the state’s GOP caucus, who would vote there for anti-Bennett delegates to send to the state’s convention where the party’s primary candidates are determined.

“We urged our delegates not to vote for Bob Bennett,” said Keating. The Club got its wish and Bennett never made it on the ballot for the Utah GOP primary, held in June.

The Facebook page, which garnered over 4,800 likes, features in-depth information on the complicated Utah election process, and prompted people to attend a caucus, sign up on the organization’s events page, as well as invite friends.

“I think it played a major role,” said Keating of the Bennett hit page on Facebook. “It was definitely the most cost-effective money we spent in the campaign.”

Keating said D.C.-based digital political consultancy David All Group helped Club for Growth with the anti-Bennett effort, which involved targeting Facebook ads to Utah residents to drive traffic to the page.

In addition to the Facebook elements, the campaign included a StopBobBennett.com web site and TV ads.

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