Shameless self-promotion: What was at stake in Montana…

by Jay Stevens 

Unfortunately on Election Night, Internet connectivity was down, and I was unable to bring you the feeling, color, and mood from Tester’s HQ in Great Falls. It was quite a party, and I would’ve had a good time if it weren’t for nerves and the late night. Before driving down, I had this fantasy of drinking whiskey and chewing on a victory stogie with Jon and the gang at about 3am long after the results rolled in and the photobugs had gone.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, at 3am, I was in my underwear in my hotel room writing a “color” piece for the Missoula Independent, which they didn’t take. The outcome was still in doubt, I was exhausted and sober, Jon and the gang were still holed up in their rooms, working the phones, watching the numbers roll by on the television screen, looking very nervous.

Anyhow, I wrote a piece for the American Prospect, and lo! it made it to the main web page: “Tester Case.” It catches some of the mood of the party and the import of Jon’s victory. Naturally I give us bloggers props:

…a Tester victory in Montana would, outside of a Ned Lamont triumph in Connecticut, be the strongest indication yet that a progressive grass- and netroots movement could actually propel a candidate into a federal-level office. Tester was supposed to be the also-ran in the primary, outspent substantially by the DC leadership favorite John Morrison, but he won the election by twenty-five points in no small part because of the publicity and more than $100,000 in on-line donations they brought to his campaign. And grassroots organizations urged on by blogs proved to be crucial this past Tuesday.

Burns really didn’t have any net support to speak of, and while I think the blogs and their fundraising efforts helped Jon out more in the primary, I think we did help whip up a frenzy in the cities. And like Matt said, Tester may have won on huge turnout in the state’s urban areas.

Forget for a moment the self-obsessed elements of this post and consider: you can’t manufacture blog support. It just happens. Tester had a large number of blogs popping up like mushrooms here in the state, all of them written by everyday folks with little or no connection to Tester’s staff, and all of them earnestly backing his campaign. That only happens when there’s a good candidate and a cause to fight for.

But don’t worry, that’s the only time I mention blogs in the d*mn article. You can skip over that paragraph and read my impressions of the night and race.

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