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RaceTracker is Up-To-Date for Aug. 24th Primaries

August 24, 2010 - by David Moore

Today is primary day in five states: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma (well, GOP runoffs here), and Vermont. Up for voting in these states are eight U.S. Senate primaries, 67 total U.S. House primaries, and eight gubernatorial seats — see below for the detailed list and more info.

(Pictured at right: Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-FL, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the Democratic primary in Florida today. Impressive photo via our valued data partners Daylife, whose commercial content platform is worth a look, if you’re a publisher or developer in the market for such a service.)

Here on OpenCongress, we don’t specialize in detailed analysis of the races themselves — we’re non-partisan, of course, and independent from any political party or candidates or elected officials. A few reliable sites I recommend for such analysis & predictions include Political Wire, Memeorandum (a nifty aggregator of content & curated links from around the open Web, always interesting), the old stalwart WaPostPolitics, and esp. the gleaming NYT Politics hub, now featuring the custom-blended & essential statistical analysis of Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight reputation. Background here from back in early June by NYT’s own media reporter Brian Stelter on the content-leasing arrangement Nate signed with the Times. To be sure it’s a team effort, but much of the phenomenal layout of that NYT Politics page is the hard work of the NYT Interactive News team — background on some of them and their roles in the journalism/web/openness game can be found in this article from last year chez NYMag. Even more wore worthwhile details on civic-mindedness of Interactive News on the personal/professional blog of developer Derek Willis. While I’m on the topic, any tech-inclined types or otherwise-interested citizen journalists / news enthusiasts reading this should subscribe to the feed for the NYT developers’ community blog, Code. I should disclose I’m friends with a few staff members of the Interactive team here in NYC, but our non-profit PPF and OpenCongress are not affiliated in any official way with any of the entites mentioned in this paragraph — and I don’t think I’m pointing out anything too existentially unique, since I believe the NYT’s user interface is evidently excellent upon consideration.

I mention this because, among other journalistic virutes, I think the NYT’s Politics online section’s graphic design is fantastic — peep those clickable icons on the left-hand side, outta sight — and their team’s commitment to making information available via open APIs is laudable. This mention might seem to be of exclusively niche interest, or unbearably nerdy, or irrelevant to the issues you care about in Congress, but as you likely gather, I don’t believe it is irrelevant, but rather is part of a terrific sea change we’re all working on for the open-source movement. All topics worthy of longer treatment, lots worthier + lots longer, but not right now, more to come later over at PPF homepage and elsewhere this Fall.

Regarding today’s primaries, I was saying — as part of our mission, OpenCongress is indeed interested in the basic transparency and public knowledge of who’s running for office, especially our primary object of fascination and chagrin, the federal U.S. Congress. That’s why we maintain and develop RaceTracker, a public resource wiki tracking every candidate for the U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial seats. All information is required to be documented by an outside source, which helps to ensure RaceTracker stands as an objective and non-partisan community resource. 

Senate: 8 total primaries

House: 67 total primaries (including 2 runoffs)

Gubernatorial: 8 total primaries

… dive in to RaceTracker for the full details of all the above. On the map of the U.S. on the RaceTracker homepage, just click a state to see all its races and the associated info, down to the granular level of each Congressional district. Not — too — shabby … all free & open-source. Hey developers, you can even remix and reuse this info entirely for free — holler if you’re down with semantic MediaWiki. If that doesn’t seem relevant, no worries  — just illustrating that all the info we aggregate & edit on OC is out there in the public commons to share for the public interest.

Last, have to mention: as a publicly-editable wiki, RaceTracker can use your help — visit the RaceTracker Community Portal to see our documentation process and to get started adding what you know. Questions & comments on RaceTracker can be directed to Conor Kenny, the OC Wiki Editor : conor [at] opencongress d0t org. (If you use the Twitter commercial micropublishing service, please RT our just-published announcement, and please share RaceTracker in other ways, helping us spread the word about this free and open-source resource for civic engagement.) Let us know what you think! 

By David Moore. OC Research Assistant Hilary Worden helped assemble this post. About our non-profit team.

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