Shoestring Campaigns Tie Hopes to Web

Tracking politics as it's practiced on the Web.
Oct. 24 2000 3:00 AM

Shoestring Campaigns Tie Hopes to Web

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Slate, the Industry Standard, and washingtonpost.com join forces to examine the effect of the Internet on Campaign 2000. 

Jack Reynolds has an urgent message for you: "Repent and Believe on Jesus."

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What will happen if you decline? Nothing much. Except that you will be "tormented forever in the Lake of Fire."

Reynolds is the Republican nominee in Indiana's 1st District, centered in Gary in the northwestern corner of the Hoosier state. Reynolds doesn't live anywhere near the 1st District. In fact, according the Associated Press, he lives in the rural southern corner of the state in the 7th District. In a mobile home. With a pet goat.

Reynolds has no chance of winning. He has raised no money (or at least filed no financial reports). He probably won the primary because people confused him with another guy named Jack Reynolds from the 1st District.

But he's got a detailed Web site complete with Spanish translations and explanations of the great Christian nation we used to be and the web of lies spun by wily evolutionists and tricky lawyers bent on twisting the Constitution.

Reynolds also promises to overturn all restrictive gun laws so we can protect ourselves "against federal and UN troops that may decide to establish a world government by force." He even throws in a helpful link to www.texemarrs.com, which carries a blockbuster report on the Pentagon's secret plan to "implant biochips in the brains of servicemen so they can 'think, see, and feel' as their distant controllers direct."

By now we all know how important the Web is in competitive races, how candidates are learning to exploit the new medium to raise money, set up e-mail networks, and explain their positions—all while bashing their opponents with negative Web sites and banner ads. All true. All interesting and worth knowing about.

But what about the Jack Reynoldses of the world?

Are there other mavericks like him out there running shoestring campaigns we would know little about without the wondrous powers of the World Wide Web? You bet.

There is Alaska's poor Mark Greene (not the ER doctor), who can't scramble up the cash to spread the word in his effort to oust Republican Rep. Don Young.