Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Web activism defeats two Congress incumbents


In the 1st District, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest was defeated in the GOP contest by state Sen. Andy Harris. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Harris had 44 percent of the vote compared to 32 percent for Gilchrest and 21 percent for state Sen. E.J. Pipkin. And in the 4th district, Rep. Al Wynn was trounced in the Democratic primary by activist Donna Edwards, who led by 25 points with 76 percent of the vote counted.


But the defeat of two entrenched incumbents also serves as a reminder of a growing trend in modern campaigns: The Internet has made it exponentially easier to nationalize races that used to be seen as strictly local affairs. Not long ago, a Democrat in California didn't know or care who represented Prince George's County in the House, nor did a Texas Republican pay much attention to the Congressman from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Now they do know and they do care, because the Web makes it much easier for them to do so.