Republicans in Georgia go to the polls tomorrow in a runoff election to choose the party’s gubernatorial nominee. Today, candidate Nathan Deal is getting a big social media push from former presidential candidate and talk show host Mike Huckabee. Meanwhile, former vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin – the star endorser of his opponent, Karen Handel – hasn’t made a peep about Handel on her powerful Facebook and Twitter pages recently.
Handel’s campaign has clung to Palin’s endorsement in much of its messaging – including its display advertising. However, hours after Palin rallied in Atlanta for Handel this morning, she made no mention of it on her Twitter or Facebook accounts. Indeed, Palin did little to promote her appearance in Atlanta before today’s rally on her Facebook or Twitter accounts either. The most recent posts to Palin’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, for instance, came late Sunday night, long before the Atlanta rally.
Even Handel’s own website, Facebook, and Twitter pages lay dormant. The top story in the “Latest News” section on KarenHandel.com touts, “Palin to rally for Handel in Atlanta,” and was posted on July 30. According to news reports, the rally took place around 12:30 today.
A post from Palin could have a big impact on any campaign looking for last-minute cash or help with get-out-the-vote phone calls – even from out-of-state supporters. Palin’s Twitter account has around 215,700 followers, and on Facebook she has around 2 million likes.
Another conservative celeb, Mike Huckabee, despite less-impressive followings on Twitter and Facebook, is using his social presences, and political action committee community, to do GOTV on behalf of Deal.
” ‘It matters how you vote’ says @GovMikeHuckabee at Nathan Deal Rally,” posted Huckabee’s Twitter account on Sunday, a retweet from @teamhuckga, the account associated with the Huck PAC’s Georgia branch. Earlier Sunday, a @GovMikeHuckabee tweet stated, “Thousand or more at rally for Nathan Deal. Loud!”
Perhaps more effectual in terms of moving people to the polls for Deal, Huck PAC is driving people to sign up for its GOTV phone bank effort on behalf of Deal. “Phone Bank For Nathan Deal Starts At 10 AM EST,” notes the HuckPAC.com homepage today. “Tomorrow morning we are kicking off our online phone bank to make calls in support of Nathan Deal for Governor.”
The host of Fox News’s “Huckabee” also promoted the phone bank initiative on his Facebook page. “We have had 34 people sign up to make phone calls this weekend for Nathan Deal using our online phone bank. Will you? Click the link below and let us know if you can help today,” said the Friday post. Huckabee has around 405,700 likes on the site, and around 87,800 followers on Twitter.
“We will email you instructions tomorrow morning,” continued the phone bank pitch, which also directed supporters to “our new Team Huck headquarters” at Ning.com. Republican Senator Scott Brown’s campaign used Ning to help supporters self-organize and run GOTV efforts.
Those who “like” Deal on Facebook have seen a stream of posts featuring articles, photos, and video from yesterday’s rally in Gainesville, where Huckabee spoke. The most recent, posted around 3 p.m. today, features several photos from the rally. The last post to Handel’s Facebook page – made Sunday – features a link to a news article about the final debate between her and Deal held Sunday.
The Deal campaign site is also pushing GOTV, greeting visitors with a splash page linking to voting information. Handel’s site, however, gives no indication that tomorrow is the big day.
Handel seems to be more prolific in the online advertising department. While Deal appears to be absent from Google search ads, Handel’s campaign is running search and display ads – mainly targeted to Georgia voters – and plans a bigger display ad push tomorrow, according to a source who’s familiar with Handel’s digital ad efforts.
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