- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A pair of tech-savvy Republican activists have started a new online, interactive fundraising tool that they say will help energize the conservative grass roots and further close the gap with their more high-profile “netroots” liberal counterparts.

Slatecard.com, which opened to the public yesterday, aims to be a clearinghouse for Republican presidential and congressional candidates who want to reach grass-roots voters who haven’t normally been included in traditional media outreach efforts, such as direct mail or large-scale fundraising events.

“Not everyone can, or wants, to go to the traditional chicken-dinner fundraiser,” said Slatecard.com co-founder David All. “This lets Republican candidates hear directly from their supporters, whether they’re giving $5 or thousands of dollars.”

Mr. All, a former aide to Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, and now a Republican technology consultant, is a familiar name to Capitol Hill conservatives who want to see their movement take full advantage of the Internet and “social-networking” operations such as Facebook.com.

Although Mr. All has been behind many conservative online entrepreneurial efforts, including a successful effort to get the field of Republican presidential candidates to participate in a debate sponsored by Google, he left much of the site’s production to his Slatecard.com co-founder, Sendhil Panchadsaram.

Slatecard.com is somewhat inspired by ActBlue.com, a Web-based political action committee founded in 2004 that raised significant amounts of campaign cash for Democrats.

Democrats and liberal activists have long had a significant advantage over their conservative counterparts, both in terms of money raised and influence within their respective communities.

However, Mr. All says his site, while functioning similarly to a PAC, will work differently.

Other online fundraising tools endorse a candidate, or a series of candidates. Supporters can then donate to a preapproved candidate.

Conversely, Slatecard.com is open to all Republican candidates and is not endorsing any candidates.

Running under the slogan “It’s Fun To Give,” Slatecard.com also will allow contributors to attach any number of “issue buttons” to their candidates of choice.

For example, after contributors have donated through an online payment system, they can then give a “Second Amendment supporter” badge to a candidate like Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, or a “pro-life” badge to another candidate, such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

If the effort proves successful, it could provide a boost to Republican candidates in both grass-roots buzz and actual fundraising dollars, two areas where they are trailing measurably behind Democratic candidates in the current election cycle.

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