In the race for the GOP Senate nomination in Texas, Ted Cruz is likely to defeat Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who started the race with far more money and name recognition. Social media have helped. Politico reports that Cruz has more than 25,000 Twitter followers 84,000 Facebook fans, compared with Dewhurst's 4,200 Twitter followers and 42,000 Facebook fans. Steven Friess writes that "Cruz is among the first American examples of a dark horse candidate who rode to victory by tapping into the vast power of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and email."
Among Cruz’s smart cyber moves: Weekly calls with supportive bloggers, who had access to the candidate throughout the race. Two full-time staffers focused on social media content, resulting in speedy responses to just about every tweet, Facebook comment and email. A microsite, cruzcrew.org, that empowered volunteers to take on tasks and print out campaign literature. The use of social media ads from the earliest days of the campaign to build a mailing list that is, in the words of Vincent Harris, the Cruz campaign digital strategist, "bigger than most of the failed Republican candidates for president."
On Facebook, the Cruz campaign sent city-specific status updates so that, for instance, only users in Waco would receive the update about Cruz’s upcoming Waco appearance. Meanwhile, whenever Cruz appeared on national or statewide radio or TV programs, his campaign website would post a special splash page to specifically welcome the listeners or viewers who came there during or immediately after the show.
The campaign also took advantage of the resources provided by Google and Facebook, both of which have dedicated Republican and Democratic staffers available to offer advice. As recently as this week, Harris said, the campaign deployed an idea provided to them by Google’s Republican outreach guru Rob Saliterman.