This is awesome: "a non-partisan, fully-referenced, open-source and crowd-sourced wiki project that lists every candidate running in every U.S. Senate, House and governor's race."
The project, dubbed RaceTracker, was coordinated by the folks at the Swing State Project as they completed a nationwide survey of the candidates in each race. What's most cool about the project is that as we move into the 2010 congressional races, the site will use crowd-sourced participation to ensure the races are up to date.
Project lead Conor Kenny of the Sunlight Foundation writes:
You can now check on the status of each of the seven candidates considering a run for the seat of Illinois' Sen. Roland Burris (D) or the eight who are eyeing Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.). We'll even tell you who's confirmed as a candidate versus who's merely considering or rumored to be a candidate, how much money they've raised, the district boundaries and the district-specific electoral trends in the last three presidential elections.
In true wikified fashion, one of the most important aspects of RaceTracker is that all the data is freely available via an open API for use in other web apps or visualizations. I'm looking forward to seeing what others will come up with as the possibilities abound.
The impetus for the project is interesting and also important to note. As hosts for the project, OpenCongress.org is most interested in how a lawmaker's election status affects how they vote and ultimately how Congress works.
For example, when Arlen Specter switched to the Democratic Party, which he himself admitted was a reelection decision, it threw the Democratic Caucus seniority and committee assignments into disarray. It also placed the substantially more conservative Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in the top spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee, opening the door to an unlikely-but-possible method for Republicans to block judicial nominees using the committee's requirement that each nominee receive at least one vote from the minority party.
For the full rundown, check out what Conor writes on the Open Congress blog.
As Kenny suggests at the end of his post, I went over RaceTracker and checked out the races I was interested in. While I found a lot about my former Representatives in Oregon, FL, and TN, I was most curious about the current governor races in New Jersey and Virginia.
Looks like it's time to get some wiki on. http://www.opencongress.org/wiki/VA-Gov