Congressional Candidate Tyler Gernant’s “Raises the Bar” for Tech Campaigning

by jhwygirl did up a nice piece, with interview, about congressional candidate Tyler Gernant’s use of the Kindle (an wireless electronic reading device) in his campaign.

Gernant recently announced the release of his policy papers – which can also be obtained on his website at – in electronic format for Kindle download at, for .99 cents each.

From Tyler Gernant’s blog:

While we understand that these are the same policy papers that are available on our website, there is something that’s a little different about our Kindle program. First of all, the Kindle content allows you to more easily share issue positions with your friends while you’re away from your computer. You won’t have to carry around a bunch of loose papers or squint to read text on your phone or blackberry. In fact, Kindle’s text-to-speech feature can read the issue positions to you. More importantly, though, 100% of the money that we make will go back into Montana . . . literally. For every Kindle download, we receive a portion of the proceeds, and all of those proceeds will be used to plant trees right here in Montana. This is a creative new way to help us spread our message of opportunity while ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy Montana’s natural wonders.

I bet that Kindle is great for the college crowd. I don’t own one, and I don’t think I’d use it for books – I tend to underline and highlight and write notes in the margins (I know, I know – the horror!) – but I’d sure love to have it to download magazines, newspapers, and individual articles….and it’d be especially great for camping, flying and long road trips.

  1. I have to say that I love my Kindle 2, and I am a compulsive annotator of books–fiction, non-fiction, anything. The annotation and highlighting features in the device are pretty impressive, actually.

  2. JC

    I’m not one for gimmick campaigns.

    But I’m going to buy a Kindle in order to read Gernant’s policy papers. He says they’re the same papers you can get for free on his web site. but I don’t see any position papers on his website. Just 5 short blurbs–2 or 3 paragraphs–in his “issues” section. I sure hope that those blurbs aren’t what he’s selling for $.99. Cuz I ain’t buying…

    • I take it on the basis of being a good or a bad idea. I think it’s a good idea…the more ways to get your message out, the better.

      • JC

        The message is the 2-3 paragraph blurbs? Really?

      • Jimbo

        Jhwygirl is right. I have no idea what kindle is, but when a candidate is reaching out to groups through new technologies, that’s a great thing.

        This guy has some savvy and is willing to work hard at broadening his message. Good stuff.

        • i am giving tyler the benefit of the doubt also. after talking to a few folks he might be the real deal.

          certainly is a better candidate than that re-manufactured worn out piece of party machinery jim mcdonald.

          would still prefer that a good strong woman candidate run against rehberg…

          methinkest that dennis is vulnerable next year…

          • marie

            we have run good strong women against Rehberg before many many times… its not about gender. we need to run someone against rehberg who has a real story, a real message and the “balls” to bloody the hell out of him…

            furthermore hate to correct a bear but who the hell is jim mcdonald? i am assuming you meant dennis…. human names can be awfully tricky.

  3. Geraldine

    I’m not into campaign gimmicks either, but that Tyler Gernant is a stud.

    Taking on the helena establishment for the right to take on the republican establishment.

    Back in my day, we called that a case of the “big balls.”

  4. New technologies help when they enlarge the circle of people who learn about the candidate and his positions. In that regard, the Kindle caper has merit.

    But I do not own a Kindle, and have no plans to own one anytime soon. I prefer position papers in the PDF format, which for me is much more versatile and convenient.

    Does Gernant have position papers of any kind for free downloading? All I could find on his website were a few hundred words of anodyne generalities on a few issues, health care not among them despite its importance (is this because as a young man health care is not an important issue, or because he thinks Congress might solve the problem before the election, thus sparing him the risk of taking a position on the issue?).

    This paucity of information is not a good beginning. But it is a traditional beginning for Democrats, who increasingly fear that taking clear, convincing, and highly visible stands on the issues will alienate voters.

    Gernant is challenging an incumbent. Therefore, he must make two cases, which can be expressed in verse:

    Why Joe must go.
    Why me to replace thee.

    It’s fine if he makes those cases through the Kindle (though not only the kindle). But if he substitutes style for substance, his support base will dwindle.

  5. Jim Lang

    Lame stunt.

    • Barry

      He’s smart for doing this.

      I also like his website. His message about opportunities for rural Montanans speaks strongly to alot of folks going through tough times now.

  1. 1 Gernant grabs early headlines « Politics, Peaks, and Valleys

    […] There was also some discussion of the issue at 4and20blackbirds, a local Missoula political blog, here. It’s a comment thread giving some idea of the move’s varied […]

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