Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Latest on District 17 Senate

Both District 17 Senate candidates have picked up the pace of late, confirming our pick of that race as the top primary to watch in the county. Here are the newest bits.

Challenger Cheryl Kagan is holding another fundraiser soon, this time boasting an enormous 199 names on her host committee. That count represents significant growth from the 158 hosts of her June event. Here’s the solicitation.

Our spies generally had a positive reaction to Kagan’s list. One said, “Impressive set of names, some of which are outside District 17. Still not a lot of Gaithersburg representation, but an improvement over last time. She’s making progress.” Another said, “VERY impressive list. It includes people with money, people from the business world, people from the non-profit world – great balance, great cross-section of the community at large. It clearly reflects her hard work on the campaign, her work with the Freeman Foundation, and her prior government service. It shows that this race is going to be highly competitive – assuming Jennie can keep up!” One informant pointed out that only a minority of Kagan’s hosts were district residents, but incumbent Jennie Forehand has relied on many out-of-district people as fundraiser co-hosts too. Just one question: can anyone tell us what a “Cheryltini” is?

We heard that Senator Jennie Forehand’s September fundraiser went well. One attendee told us, “Whoever organized the VisArts thing did a pretty awesome job. Very nice spread, and lots of people showed.” Another mole reports, “Apparently Forehand was in the audience at a recent national campaign training seminar run by Democratic GAIN. Witness says she was scribbling notes furiously. This was a serious all-day seminar attended by many US senate campaign staffers and candidates...” We also hear that the Senator enjoys the full support of her Delegates, House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, Luiz Simmons and Jim Gilchrist, and the four of them will be working together on the campaign. We just hope one of them tells Delegate Simmons what a blog is.

Here’s an interesting bit of info. Kagan’s campaign has released data on visits to her website, which now features a regularly updated blog. Here are the site’s unique visitor counts since April:

April: 955
May: 903
June: 1,345
July: 1,035
August: 1,401
September: 2,127
Total, Six Months: 7,766

And here are the site’s total page views in each month:

April: 2,178
May: 1,724
June: 2,710
July: 3,382
August: 3,839
September: 6,963
Total, Six Months: 20,796

Kagan’s site visits are comparable to some of Maryland’s mid-to-small-sized political blogs, including Monoblogue (2,548 visits in September), Maryland on My Mind (2,091) and PG-Politics (1,863). These blogs have taken years to build their audiences. Most importantly, the website’s upward trend is unmistakable and bodes well for the challenger at this very early stage of the campaign.

Count on us for more info when it comes!