Carolyn Maloney, Reshma Saujani Fight for Friends on Twitter and in High Places

By DNAinfo Staff on March 4, 2010 10:50am  | Updated on March 4, 2010 3:05pm

Candidate for Congressional District 14, Reshma Saujani has garnered support from technological entrepreneurs and incumbent Carolyn Maloney has received support from unions and women's groups.
Candidate for Congressional District 14, Reshma Saujani has garnered support from technological entrepreneurs and incumbent Carolyn Maloney has received support from unions and women's groups.
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By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER EAST SIDE — To win in politics, you gotta have friends. Rep. Carolyn Maloney's are in high places, whereas challenger Reshma Saujani's are on Twitter.

Maloney launched her campaign at the Yale Club, where supporters including Gloria Steinem and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn raised $100,000.

Before she officially announced her candidacy, Saujani cultivated an online presence through Facebook, a Huffington Post Op-Ed and a regularly updated Twitter feed.

The differences in their approaches to capturing the congressional District 14 seat, representing most of Manhattan's east side, point to a generational divide in campaign styles that Saujani has used to her advantage.

Saujani said at a meet and greet with supporters last month that reaching voters through social networking is the campaign's conscious effort to follow President Barack Obama's succesful strategy.

"I hope we can do the same thing," she said "We're like the start up candidate."

Young, tech entrepreneurs have flocked to her campaign, raising $20,000 at the hip Gramercy home of Vault founder Sam Hamadeh at a party hosted with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Guest of a Guest reported.

Where Saujani has twittered and blogged her way to support from the technocrati, Maloney has turned to the bedrock alliance of women's groups and unions that she's built during her 17 years in office.

Established Democratic backers such as Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York and the Women's Campaign Forum have thrown their support behind Maloney.

"Power in Washington is tenure, and she's got seniority," said Siobahn "Sam" Bennett, president and CEO of WCF. "That doesn't mean Reshma isn't a great candidate, she is, but Carolyn is essential."

Organizers for Maloney's campaign dismissed the idea that there was a generational divide between the campaigns.

Both Maloney and Saujani have over 2,000 followers on their Facebook fan pages. However, Maloney's friends on her personal page outnumber Saujani's by a three-to-one margin.

"Carolyn Maloney has support throughout New York and the nation based on her long record of accomplishment and activism in the district and in congress," said Brian Krapf, a spokesperson for Maloney.

Maloney's experience argument cuts both ways. Bennett's friend Rosina Rubin, a Saujani supporter, said the two women have agreed to disagree on this election.

"It's not enough to have a seat on a key committee, you have to do something," Rubin said. "There are times when you have to bring in some new blood with some new ideas and let those people start to build seniority."

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