Will Netroots Rally for Dan Gelber?

Howard Dean was the first darling of the "netroots" -- the progressive and liberal blogs which were a wailing wall and fundraising catalyst during the Bush years. Then Dean folded. Barack Obama was their next crush, and that turned out pretty well.

Will the netroots have as much power as they did in the Bush years? Or will they be unraveled by the usual infighting that tends to follow one side's electoral victory?

Dan Gelber has a stake in the netroots' political relevance, if only because he looks like their favorite candidate in the race for Florida's open U.S. Senate seat.

Gelber's voting record is solidly liberal. The Miami Beach state senator is a tenacious critic of Republicans, which also makes the netroots swoon. And he's got that slight party outsider / underdog thing going for him, since he wasn't the national Dems' first pick.

With Florida identified as a golden opportunity for Dems to pick up a seat in the 2010 Senate, netroots figure to steer their fundraisers in that direction. Since Gelber has a lower profile than U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, liberal blogs just might conspire to tip the fundraising balance in Gelber's favor.

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Thomas Francis