Another Acklin/Santorum connection emerges | Slag Heap
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another Acklin/Santorum connection emerges

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Independent mayoral candidate Kevin Acklin has -- quite understandably -- taken pains to distance himself from the far-right of the GOP. Acklin, himself a former Republican, has previously contributed to politicians like former Senator Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum ... even though Acklin takes a much more tolerant line on issues like gay rights. 

But there's another connection between Acklin and Santorum: Three Group LLC, the company that developed the Acklin campaign's Web site, was co-founded by a former Santorum campaign staffer.

Aaron Marks' official company biography notes that the founding partner "worked as a staffer on Senator Rick Santorum's re-election campaign in new media and political technology." Later, the site asserts that "[b]ased on his experience in political technology on Santorum's campaign and elsewhere, Aaron came to the conclusion that conservatives desperately needed a software solution that would give them an affordable advantage in elections." That solution is "Mission Control," the platform that powers Acklin's site.

Perhaps most curiously, Marks' bio asserts that he "[b]ecame frustrated by the disproportionate balance of news stories on Digg that were liberally biased." (Digg's content is generated and rated by users.) So "As a result, Aaron [launched] R-igg, a Pligg-based Digg alternative for folks who are right of center."

Does any of this matter? Three Group is providing an online platform, not the content --  and expense reports show that Acklin's campaign has paid less than $1,800 to the firm. In fact, Acklin says he "wasn't aware of" Marks' beliefs at all. 

"I wasn't aware of his political leanings," said Acklin, reached by phone while door-knocking in Lawrenceville. "Maybe that makes me a bad politician. We hired him because he's done some great work, and I'm very happy with what he's done for us." 

Acklin also notes -- as he has from the outset of his campaign -- that he is "trying to build a coalition." And that means conservatives and liberals both. "It's definitely been a challenge to build, but it's the only way we're going to win this." 

The R-igg site is currently down "due to a recent influx of spam." But Marks also occasionally contributes to a blog for and about young conservatives, NextGenGOP. And some of his posts suggest that on social issues, Marks comes closer to Acklin's more tolerant position than Santorum's ... if only for purposes of political pragmatism:

"[Y]oung voters are going to find it difficult to support the Republican Party if it remains the party that condones government intervention in such issues as gay marriage or the behavior of two consenting adults in their own bedroom.  These socially conservative issues may be important to voters in the other generations, but in the eyes of many of my peers, government has no place in getting involved in these matters.

Still, of all the online consultants in all the gin-joints of all the world ...

 

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