How big is Twitter this election cycle? When Mitt Romney finished his acceptance speech in Tampa, the tweets were flying at a record pace of more than 14,000 per second. That same night, the Obama campaign used Twitter to put out a photo response to Clint Eastwood’s speech, and it was re-tweeted more than 50,000 times—another record. These marks will likely be surpassed in Charlotte. Here are 10 Democrats whom, for various reasons, deserve a follow from political junkies.
Cory Booker (@corybooker)
The mayor of Newark, N.J., has more than four times as many Twitter followers as there are residents of his city. More than any American elected official, Booker leverages the power of the medium to do his job. Did the plows skip your street after a blizzard? Is your local playground in disrepair? Just tweet the mayor, and he’ll respond.
Sandra Fluke (@SandraFluke)
The Georgetown law student was transformed into a progressive icon, and she amassed a sizable Twitter following, after radio host Rush Limbaugh insulted her. Fluke uses the platform to stump for Obama and talk about women’s health issues. Apparently things are getting ugly. A recent tweet: “Hey, sorry, the haters harass anyone I tweet back to. It’s one of the downsides. Pay no attention.”
Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile)
The Democratic strategist may seem ubiquitous on cable news, but she’s really active—and can be sharp-edged on Twitter. Brazile live-tweets big events, and even when it’s slow she can post dozens of times a day. Sample tweet: “On one of the most important nights of Mitt Romney’s political career, Clint Eastwood is just making an ass of himself. Wow.”
Cynthia Dill (@dillesquire)
The Obama campaign team uses the Bruce Springsteen anthem “We Take Care of Our Own” to close out rallies. But the maxim doesn’t apply to Dill, the Democratic Senate candidate in Maine. National Democrats have rallied around independent candidate Angus King, the former governor, who is leading the race and is expected to caucus with Democrats if elected. It will be interesting to see if this unwanted child of the Democratic down-ballot behaves herself during the stretch run.
Rob Zerban (@robzerban)
Expect Zerban’s Twitter feed to attract interest in the coming weeks. He’s vying for Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s seat in the House, and he’s garnering a surge of financial support from out-of-state donors who want to try to embarrass Ryan on his home turf.
John Aravosis (@aravosis)
The gay-rights activist and liberal writer, with a feed approaching 20,000 tweets, offers a mix of activism, analysis, and snarky personal observations. Sample tweet: “So basically the DNC is like Hunger Games and our hotel is in Katniss’ district, except I don’t remember hookers in the movie.”
Judd Legum (@JuddLegum)
Legum, a contributor to the official Twitter feed of the liberal blog ThinkProgress of the think tank Center for American Progress, uses his personal feed to mix it up with journalists and fellow policy wonks. Sample tweet: “Is there really a serious debate about whether we are better off now than in January 2009, when the economy lost nearly 800K jobs?”
Rafalca Romney (@RafalcaRomney)
This satirical account presents subversive “musings” from the point of view of Ann Romney’s dressage horse—apparently a hard-drinking liberal. Rafalca Romney shamelessly roots around in the muck of the campaign and offers her take on topics trending with liberal commentators. Sample tweet: “Remember that time I won the Kentucky Derby? Paul Ryan was my jockey.”
Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard)
Gabbard, 31, hasn’t been elected to Congress yet, but the Hawaiian has a speaking slot on Tuesday night. Gabbard, who served in the Army National Guard and on the Honolulu City Council, was a surprise victor in her Democratic primary, and she is expected to win in November to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District.
Kal Penn (@kalpenn)
Penn, an Indian-American actor who distinguished himself both in the Harold and Kumar stoner-movie franchise and in the Obama administration as a White House aide, tweets about his personal life, his show-business career, and his insider view as a well-placed campaign surrogate. He captures all three in this tweet about Ryan’s selection as VP: “This is awful. I was hoping it would be Jindal so I could play him in the HBO movie.”
This article appears in the September 5, 2012, edition of NJ Convention Daily.