Cambridge-based ActBlue, launched in 2004 by former Cambridge City Council candidate Matt DeBergalis and Harvard alum Ben Rahm, allows any group or individual to try MoveOn-style online fundraising the Democratic candidates of their choice. In the year and a half since then, more than $2million has been raised for Democrats around the country through ActBlue lists, such as the Daily Kos Dozen and Dean for DNC. ActBlue pages for Paul Hackett brought over $500,000 in contributions to his campaign.
The catch: So far, ActBlue has for the most part only been able to directly raise money for US Senate and US House candidates, the national party (DNC/DSCC/DCCC), and selected high-profile state races. Now, ActBlue is starting to move into the states. More below the flip.
This fall, ActBlue held an online poll, which was publicized on popular blue political blogs such as Daily Kos and MyDD, to ask which states people wanted them to start with. The results: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Montana. Once they set that up, it will be possible to include any candidates for state level office in those five states, including state house & senate candidates, on ActBlue fundraising pages.
The most challenging part of bringing ActBlue to new states, in their words, is the legal side: “the staff time and lawyers, Lawyers, LAWYERS, required to do this right are going to cost on average $10,000 per state, at least for the first set of states we take on.” ActBlue is asking supporters to contribute now to help them set up in these five states soon, so ActBlue can be a factor in the 2006 races.
[Update: They also have a contribution page set up to support them moving into the state of your choice. They'll start legal work for setting in any state once enough money is collected towards that state. Want ActBlue in Massachusetts? ]