John Kitzhaber takes a page from the Obama social media playbook for Oregon gubernatorial bid

[HTML2]Former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber, who served two terms from 1995-2003, has decided to throw his hat into the ring for another gubernatorial bid. His Kitzhaber 2010 campaign launched this week.

And even though he hasn’t been out of the political dance that long, quite a few things have changed since his last bid—roughly a decade ago.

I mean, you might remember that Obama guy and his whole social media thing. Based on the initial rumblings from Kitzhaber camp, I can guarantee that the folks working on his campaign do.

There’s something incredibly interesting about seeing another political candidate embracing social media—especially when that candidate is so close to home. And the Kitzhaber camp is definitely taking that tact. Pushing Twitter and Facebook prominently on the site from the main splash page to the sign up form. And then once again on the submission thanks page.

John Kitzhaber Governor 2010 social media

There’s even a Kitzhaber-esque take on the that telltale blue radial gradient that became so iconic throughout the Obama campaign.

But as we all know, capturing Twitter followers—229 as of this posting—and Facebook fans—4142 supporters so far—is one thing. Engaging in the conversation and using the medium effectively is entirely another.

So, it will be interesting to see what they do with this following they’re courting. And how other candidates jump into the social media melee.

And where else will they go? WordPress? LinkedIn? YouTube? Plurk? And what about the local social outlets? Will we see Kitzhaber checking into town halls with Shizzow? Maybe doing a little stumping on the Beer and Blog social network? Will he appear on Strange Love Live?

Who knows? But I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Granted, I’m not that much into the politickin’. But I’ll make sure to keep you in the loop as the race heats up. Especially in terms of the candidates’ use of social media and—even more importantly—their commitment to Web startups, mobile, and open source for Oregonians.


Prompted by comments from readers and my own better judgement, I’ve taken the opportunity to assess all of the candidates—official and potential—for the Oregon governor’s seat in terms of their social media and online presence, thus far.


  1. […] John Kitzhaber takes a page from the Obama social media playbook for Oregon gubernatorial bid (2) […]

  2. I know he’s thinking about running, but has Bill Bradbury officially announced his bid for Oregon governor? I still see him listed as a potential candidate.

    That said, I totally agree with you that there needs to be a more comprehensive post on this topic. I’ll work on a roundup taking this same perspective on all of the official candidates.

  3. Um… hello? Bill Bradbury has embraced social media for a while now… Twitter and Facebook to boot… He’s active everyday with posts and interactions on FB (http://www.facebook.com/bradburyfororegon)… A little love there, too?

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