Oregon’s next governor: Assessing 14 candidates’ online presence and social media savvy

Yesterday—upon learning that Marshall Kirkpatrick had seen a Facebook ad that John Kitzhaber had decided to mount another run for the Oregon governor gig—I started to do a little digging into Kitzhaber’s social media presence.

Then it dawned on me, instead of just taking a look at the one candidate—even if he was the one who had served as governor during half of my residence in Oregon—it would probably be wise to look at all the gubernatorial candidates, their online presence, and their social media savvy.

Sounds like a pretty good idea, doesn’t it? Shall we?

Now, we’re still early in the race. Like eight months until the primaries early. So at this point, there are some folks who are officially running and some who are purported to be running. And then there are probably some people who many wish were running.

I’m just going to focus on those first two groups—the official candidates and the purported candidates—and leave that last group up to someone else. For guidance, I’m going to use the Wikipedia page on the Oregon gubernatorial election of 2010.

And who knows? If this goes over well, we might need to check in with the candidates from time to time to see how they’re continuing to fare on the Web.

Okay, enough set up. Let’s get to it.

Confirmed Oregon gubernatorial candidates

Allen Alley (R)


Twitter is clearly taking the whale’s share (pun intended) of the social media strategy, with his tweet stream taking up a good chunk of his campaign site. @allen_alley has currently composed 651 tweets. He is following 281 folks and is being followed by 393. Twitalyzer gives him a “slowly emerging based on a calculated score of 0.6 out of 100.”

Alley’s Facebook presence is mostly a repeat of his Twitter stream—like the majority of folks (me included) who tie the two together. He currently has 713 supporters on his fan page. He’s not using the vanity URL feature for his campaign—but he is for his personal Facebook page.

Alley boasts a complete LinkedIn profile. He’s currently linked to 336 connections.

I was impressed to see Alley promoting Flickr as one of his social media outlets. He has currently uploaded 43 public images—documenting the campaign trail—to his account.

He’s also got a Vimeo account with four videos.

While the Alley site does feature an RSS feed, he currently has no Google Reader subscribers on that feed. Well, he has one now. I just signed up.

As far as his site goes, it’s a well designed site. There’s no obvious blog apart from the string of tweets. Although, there is a forum. Alley is currently running on Joomla, on open source solution. He’s selected the following keywords for his home page: Allen Alley, Oregon Governor, Kitzhaber, DeFazio, Jason Atkinson, Pixelworks, Oregon budget, Kulongoski, Oregon tax increases, Oregon tax increase petitions, Oregon initiatives, Oregon renewable energy, walk across Oregon, Baker City, John Day, Redmond, Bend, and Salem.

Jason Atkinson (R)


Atkinson appears to have just started using Twitter. @senjaa follows one person, has 67 followers, and no tweets. And no one has tweeted about him. So there’s no way to send Twitalyzer after him.

The Friends of Jason Atkins Facebook group has 258 members. It currently features some positioning statements and a few wall posts.

Atkinson has a minimal LinkedIn presence with one connection.

While I wasn’t able find any sort of image or video accounts, Atkinson is regularly featured on the Oregon Senate Republicans YouTube channel.

As far as his site goes, Atkinson appears to be running a WordPress install. He has a blog with several entries with the latest post dated April 24, 2009. He has an RSS feed for that blog with two Google Reader subscribers.

John Kitzhaber (D)


Kitzhaber has a Twitter presence that is prominently promoted on his site. @kitz2010 has 255 followers and is following 143 people. He currently has three 27 tweets (see below). Twitalyzer gives him a “slowly developing based on a calculated score of 1.5 out of 100.”

As an aside, whoever is running the Twitter account is using CoTweet which leads me to believe that they’re likely running more than this account. And they’re paying attention. They just went on a replying tear as I was writing this post, responding to a ton of folks. That, my friends, is a very good sign.

Kitzhaber’s strongest showing is on Facebook where he currently has 5028—up nearly 1000 from when I checked 24-hours ago. The page is being well used with the activity stream showing a lot of chatter and liking. And he’s taking advantage of the Facebook vanity URL.

I couldn’t find a LinkedIn presence for Kitzhaber.

As far as images and video go, I could find any social accounts dedicated to the campaign. But there are a few Kitzhaber videos on YouTube.

The Kitzhaber campaign site is built on Typepad. But it seems to be pretty minimal. It doesn’t currently have an RSS feed or a blog. And therefore, it doesn’t have any Google Reader subscribers.

John Lim (R)


Apart from a Wikipedia page, Lim has little to no online presence at this point.

Still, The Oregonian confirms Lim is running for governor.

Potential Oregon gubernatorial candidates

Bill Bradbury (D)


Bradbury has a Twitter presence with 184 followers and 53 tweets. @bbsalmon currently follows 12 people.

Bradbury is using Facebook and has taken advantage of the vanity URL with BradburyforOregon. He currently has 949 supporters. His Facebook page is active. In fact, most of his entries have at least one comment on them.

Bradbury has a complete LinkedIn profile and he belongs to a couple of LinkedIn groups. He currently has 78 connections.

He set up a Flickr account in July that features photos of him meeting with a variety of folks. The bulk of the current photos are from the Oregon Business Roundtable.

Bradbury’s campaign site is built on WordPress. It features a blog—the latest post on which makes me think I’m going to need to be moving him up into the “official candidates” listing soon. The blog has an RSS feed, but it doesn’t have any Google Reader subscribers.

Scott Bruun (R)

Bruun doesn’t have much of an online presence, currently. Aside from his Oregon House of Representatives page, he has a Wikipedia page.

I’m just guessing, but I think this may be Bruun’s LinkedIn page which has 18 connections.

Peter DeFazio (D)

DeFazio is not on Twitter according to Tweet Congress.

He does have a Facebook fan page though. Unfortunately, there isn’t much activity there. He has 1875 supporters.

DeFazio has a minimal LinkedIn profile with two connections and one recommendation.

I wasn’t able to find any other social media or online profiles for DeFazio.

Dave Hunt (D)

Apart from his Oregon State Rep page and a Wikipedia entry, Hunt’s only other online presence are remnants of his campaign for the state legislature.

Randy Leonard (D)

Apart from his City of Portland Commissioner page and a brief Wikipedia article, Leonard’s most prominent online presence is a respectable LinkedIn profile with 19 connections.

I could have sworn he was on Twitter, but the account I was following and that his Commission page references@randyleonard—no longer exists.

Steve Novick (D)

While we’re not seeing any gubernatorial rumblings, Novick’s Twitter presence for his senate bid has 328 followers and 69 tweets. Even more impressive, he’s following 1294 folks. But he hasn’t updated since May. Of 2008.

Likewise, his Facebook fan page has 507 followers. But no activity since the senatorial bid.

That said, he’s still got a “social media dark horse” quality. If only for the success he had withhis campaign videos on YouTube.


Steve Shields (D)

The Wikipedia Oregon gubernatorial page is the only thing I can find. I swear. [UPDATE] But Mark Douglas is better than me at searching. Because here’s a site he found about Steve Shields.

Gordon Smith (R)

I couldn’t find a Twitter presence for Smith, but I did find a fan page on Facebook with 525 supporters.

Other than that? Not much.

Desari Strader (D)

Strader is on Twitter as @solar_girl. She has 18 followers and is following two people. She posted one tweet. In February.

I couldn’t find her on Facebook. But I did find her on LinkedIn, with a minimal profile and no connections.

Greg Walden (R)

Walden is on Twitter with 465 followers and 82 tweets. @repgregwalden is following 83 people. According to Twitalyzer, he’s “just emerging based on a calculated score of 0.2 out of 100.”

He’s on Facebook but he has protected his updates.

Walden also has a Flickr stream and a YouTube account that were used for his congress bid.

Let’s recap for those of you keeping score at home


So now I don’t feel so guilty for focusing on Kitzhaber in the original post. Because with the exception of Alley, Bradbury, and Kitzhaber—and maybe Novick if he decides to join the race—none of the gubernatorial candidates has even begun to scratch the surface of the Web—let alone social media. And I would argue that even those four have a long long way to go.

And that’s a big opportunity. It will be interesting to see which candidates jump to take advantage of that. And more importantly, how they use the Web to discuss the issues with their respective constituencies.

Oregon’s governor seat is still very much up for grabs.

(Image courtesy functoruser. Used under Creative Commons.)

  1. […] this whole political thing started, I took a quick look at the candidates for Oregon governor in terms of their Web presence. Now seemed an appropriate time to assess the two candidates and their social media […]

  2. […] this whole political thing started, I took a quick look at the candidates for Oregon governor in terms of their Web presence. Now seemed an appropriate time to assess the two candidates and their social media […]

  3. […] might remember, that we took a look at the candidates way early in the Oregon governor’s race. But how have things changed since then? Well, let’s  take a look at how the front runners […]

  4. How about Jerry Wilson He is a maverick He Has Guts He gets my vote

  5. I’m not a supporter, but John Lim does have his own campaign website here:


  6. I’m glad Steve Shields was mentioned. He’s gathering up steam to challenge the big names. He’s got some new energy, new ideas and the political courage to tackle some of the big issues (finance and education and jobs) that Oregon has dug itself a very deep hole on. Watch for more as he publicly announces his campaign. Friends on facebook is a truly limited measure of a candidate, especially this early in the race. Oregon Summit isn’t until next week even!

  7. @TomSchwartz Great question! As I mentioned, I was using this Wikipedia article as my guide.


    If there are some third party candidates to add, that would be the place to do it.

  8. Why no info of any kind on 3rd party Gubernatorial candidates?

  9. Clem dropped out when Kitzhaber announced. (That’s why he’s not on the WP article.)

  10. Sounds like ripe opportunity for some savvay social media consultant to make a killing!

  11. I think Brian Clem should be mentioned – he’s at least as relevant as Novick, especially since Novick is still riding on his old failed Senatorial bid and Clem is quite new on the statewide scene.

  12. Strader! Dammit, I knew I’d find we missed one on Wikipedia.

    I’m sort of glad and depressed, at the same time, that our WP article on the election was your best guide. Glad, because it’s nice to feel useful. But sad, because I know how much effort it takes to make a good article on something like that, and I’m pretty sure we just haven’t gotten around to it yet on that one…too many rivers, angry football stars, and tabloid-fodder beauty queens to distract us. Sigh…by the time the election’s all over, I’m pretty sure we’ll have covered the basics pretty well 🙂

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