A political crowdfunding website wants to convince Georgians to run against members of Congress who faced no competition in last year's general election, putting billboards on Peachtree Road and Cobb Parkway featuring the image of Rep. Tom Graves.
“Your congressman has no opponent. Fix that,” the billboards read.
Five members of Congress from Georgia: Graves, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Jody Hice and David Scott, were the only names on the general election ballot in their respective districts.
“So many voters don’t know that their congressman is unopposed until it’s too late,” said Mason Harrison, Crowdpac’s head of communications. ”By starting the conversation now we hope to spur action and to get people off the sidelines early on.”
Crowdpac is like Kickstarter for people interested in running for office. Potential candidates can solicit pledges publicly or privately on the site. If they don’t run, they don’t get any of the money.
Harrison said, Georgia had the highest percentage of representatives who were unopposed last year compared to any other state, and that’s why the company decided to start a national campaign here.
“It’s a way of breaking the cycle of apathy in a potentially lopsided district,” he said. “We’ve been able to do this in some very uphill districts across the country, and so we’re hopeful to replicate that here in Georgia.”
Around the country, 30 members of Congress were unchallenged last year, Harrison said.
There’s a reason Crowdpac picked Graves’ face for the billboards, but Harrison said it had nothing to do with the northwest Georgia congressman himself. It’s a marketing strategy.
For every one conservative user on the Crowdpac website, there are 10 progressive users.
“We’re going where the action is,” Harrison said.
Fifty-six candidates from Georgia are publicly listed as running for U.S. House in Georgia.
“Crowdfunding has the power to give outsiders a platform to run for office and end these ‘automatic reelections’ where voters aren’t even given a choice,” said Irene Shin, Crowdpac’s political director.