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Saturday, June 14, 2003



posted by Editor at Saturday, June 14, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
For those who don't get the e-mail update from the National Journal's Hotline, this just came out:

--Former Vt. Gov. Captures Both Categories over Kerry--
MILWAUKEE - Former Gov. Howard Dean was victorious in a straw poll of Democratic activists at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention. Dean beat eight competing Democrats in both categories -- delegates and alternates, and official guests.

John Kerry was second to Dean in the delegate count (126 to 33). Kerry also was second to Dean in the guest count (77 to 17).

Dean's combined total of 203 topped Kerry's combined total of 50. Paper balloting took place on Friday and Saturday during the state convention. Dean's campaign spent a lot of energy organizing straw poll voting and other visible signs of support at the convention. Dean's convention speech also was well received. Dean, Kerry and Kucinich personally attended the convention.

Official attendance at this year's Democratic convention was pegged at about 1,162, according to a state Democratic Party spokesman. That's down from last year's estimated attendance of some 2,000 - numbers spiked by Al Gore's appearance and campaign organizing around a gubernatorial straw poll.

This year, the Democratic National Committee actively discouraged attendees from voting via mailings and handouts to activists. The DNC contends that straw polls sap energy and resources from campaigns. and The Hotline staged the straw poll to take the temperature of activists in what likely will be a key attleground state next year.

"We view straw polls as just one indicator of early popularity and organization,'' said Jeff Mayers, editor and president of "Dean's victory in this straw poll doesn't mean he'll win the Wisconsin primary on Feb. 17, 2004. But it means he's off to a good start in the state.''

"Despite the monkeypox-like hysteria created by the DNC, nearly a third of the total attendees participated in the straw poll,'' said Vaughn Ververs, Hotline's editor. "The results were representative of the feeling among the delegates. Had all the attendees voted, the overall results likely would not have been different.''

The two online news organizations also do scientific polling and extensive interviews to gauge candidate support. To see more on the state Democratic convention and the Wisconsin primary, go to and look in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

--Combined total: Dean (203), Kerry (50), Kucinich (27), Graham (19),
Edwards (18), Gephardt (10), Moseley Braun (5), Lieberman (4), Sharpton
(2), various write-ins (14).

--Delegates/Alternates: Dean (126), Kerry (33), Kucinich (16), Edwards
(10), Gephardt (8), Lieberman (3), Graham (3), Moseley Braun (1),
Sharpton (1), various write-ins (7).

--Official guests: Dean (77), Kerry (17), Graham (16), Kucinich (11),
Edwards (8), Moseley Braun (4), Gephardt (2), Lieberman (1), Sharpton
(1), various write-ins (7)


If the race goes down to Kerry-Dean in Wisconsin ...

Dean, Kerry and Kucinich were the only three candidates to address the convention Friday night and the results of the straw poll reflected the atmosphere of the crowd. Dean had the earliest and largest presence on site, with a boisterous afternoon rally in front of about 200 supporters.

Dean campaign posters hung everywhere and novelty pill bottles reading "Prescription for Change" littered tables throughout the complex.

Kerry arrived Friday evening to a modest, but enthusiastic, reception in front of the hotel and his campaign had the second largest presence in terms of branding. Kerry had the air of a national candidate, with crews from ABC News and "60 Minutes" trailing his day in the state. Look for footage of Kerry riding a Harley as part of George Stephanopoulos' "Day in the Life" series kicking off Sunday morning.

Bob Graham's camp turned in the most surprising performance of the convention with a well received speech delivered by Graham daughter Gwen Graham Logan, whose delivered a heart-felt case for the Florida Senator leading into Father's Day weekend. Graham Logan turned out to be the belle of the ball, greeting and charming delegates well into the early morning hours. Look for much more of her on the campaign trail.

Kucinich received modest support among the delegates while other candidates were modestly represented. Gephardt supporters hung scattered posters and passed out stickers, as did Lieberman helpers. Perhaps the most under-represented of all the major candidates was Edwards despite the fact that his wife was slated to speak to the convention on Saturday. Asked about the lack of show for Edwards, one supporter quipped: "Well, there's a candidate running for mayor of Milwaukee with a lot of signs up but he's never going to be mayor of Milwaukee, so that's how that goes."

The DNC letter urging convention goers not to participate in the straw poll had a clear impact upon some delegates. The letter, signed by all nine presidential candidates, was sent to delegates last week and included in packets distributed at the convention. Upwards of half of all delegates approached by the Hotline to participate in the poll cited the letter in their refusals. But while the campaigns ostensibly agreed, two staffers of a major candidate were seen casting votes.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.