Twitter probably isn’t the best way to keep up to date on the 2012 Republican National Convention. It’s kaleidoscopic, erratic, and governed by whom one chooses to follow. The high-velocity and serendipitous nature of the medium is wasted on most elected officials, who use it to transmit safe, on-message banalities. But there are a few Republican and conservative officials, consultants, and pundits who use Twitter to share behind-the-scenes glimpses of the campaign or uncensored personal impressions. We’ve tried to look past some of the obvious choices to include a few that are relatively under the radar. Here are 10 that are worth a follow.
Tagg Romney (@tromney)
The eldest son of Mitt and Ann Romney does a nice job of showing off the human side of the would-be first couple, such as this picture of them relaxing on a powerboat. Recent tweet: “Gotta love this shot of Mom and Dad on Lake Winni at sunset tonight.”
Ana Navarro (@ananavarro)
Former campaign strategist to John McCain and Jon Huntsman and currently a CNN contributor, Ana Navarro tweets with an eye to the Latino vote. Recent tweet: “Romney Camp bumping @marcorubio, 1 Hispanic in prime time Thurs.? MISTAKE! Writing manual on How To Lose Latino Vote.”
Mike Murphy (@murphymike)
The former McCain aide and current pundit makes light of his low standing in official party circles on his Twitter bio, calling himself a “Semi-defrocked senior GOP Political Consultant.” But this man without a candidate brings his mighty powers of spin on everyday life—like this recent tweet about airport sighting of an Airbus A380: “One big damn plane. Made in France alas. Obama’s war on SC Boeing factory doesn’t help...”
Rep Todd Akin, R-Mo. (@ToddAkin)
This could get awkward. The entire mainstream of the Republican Party is blackballing their nominee for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat, but Rep. Todd Akin has announced his intention to soldier on regardless. His Twitter account, which went quiet around the time of his disastrous “legitimate rape” gaffe, is back up and chattering. Recent tweet: “Once again, extremely grateful for @GovMikeHuckabee’s tonight rallying support w/ Missouri pastors!” It will be interesting to see what Akin has to say about events in Tampa.
Vincent Harris (@VincentHarris)
Vincent Harris—the Harris Media CEO and social-media strategist for Texan Ted Cruz, the upset winner of the state’s Senate primary—is a rising star in digital campaign circles. His tweets provide a window into Cruz’s campaign and his own take on Republican politics, including this recent tweet that appears to lament the bashing of Todd Akin: “Wish GOPers tweeting discouraging and negative things about fellow Republicans would keep Reagan’s 11th Commandment.”
Mia Love (@MiaBLove)
Haitian-American Mia Love, currently mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, is the Republican nominee for that state’s 4th Congressional District seat and is scheduled to speak in prime time at the convention on Tuesday evening. Although her Twitter feed is mostly a means of posting pictures from campaign events, raising funds, and retweeting endorsements, she’ll probably have an interesting take on the events in Tampa.
Michael Johns (@michaeljohns)
Tea party leader Michael Johns tweets his own opinions several times a day and is generous about sharing the opinions of his large following. Count him among the many not ready to put the birther issue to bed. Recent tweet: “13-year-old Nathan Duszynski built that hot dog sale business—until government shut it down. #TeaPartyto the rescue.”
James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis)
American Enterprise Institute blogger James Pethokoukis does his best to get into the weeds of economic policy within the 140-character confines of Twitter. A card-carrying supply-sider, he’s not one to shy away from a flame war. Recent tweet: “Please, I am actually arguing with people who think US standard of living is worse off now than it was in 1913? Seriously!”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. (@CathyMcMorrisRodgers)
The vice chair of the House Republican Conference leaves snark out of her tweets. But anyone looking to see how you can do constituent services on Twitter should pay attention to Rep. Rodgers. Her feed is active, focuses on her district, and pays tribute to the lives of the people she represents. Recent tweet: “Please join me in thanking Jacob Thackston of #Spokane for interning in my district office this summer!”
Ted Yoho (@TedYoho)
Honor is due the giant-killer Ted Yoho. The large-animal veterinarian from Gainesville, Fla., knocked off 12-term Rep. Cliff Stearns in a four-way Republican primary. While his Facebook outreach and his humorous YouTube ads were touted as key to his win, he hasn’t done much on Twitter so far. Here’s hoping this mention will encourage him to document his initiation into big-time Republican politics.
This article appears in the August 27, 2012, edition of NJ Convention Daily.