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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: New-Media Mavens

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, on Thursday announced the winners of the House GOP New Media Challenge.

The champion, for the second year, is Rep. Johnnnn Flemingggggg. (Insert the sound of a crowd roaring here.)

The Louisiana Republican tells HOH that he and his staff leveraged their 2010 victory like they were Lehman Bros. (OK, so HOH said that, but he used the word “leverage.”). For the past year, Team Fleming continued to “drive people to their website” as well as to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages through issue-focused messaging.

After the office had the visitors on its site, it collected their information and promised to “keep them in the loop.”

That must have been some kind of loop because Fleming tells HOH that at its height, his database boasted 4 million people. It has since fallen off to a still-impressive 3.5 million, he says.

Since the last GOP challenge, Fleming says his office has “continued to work it” by staying in regular contact with more than 800,000 subscribers. So when the New Media Challenge came around this year, his office had the infrastructure in place to get the word out.

And get the word out it did. In the competition’s seven weeks, Team Fleming garnered 1,620 fans on its Facebook page, manned by the Congressman. It added 341 followers on Twitter, manned by the staff, and gained an astonishing 109,453 new YouTube views.

So have other Members called Fleming for social media advice?

“Oh tons,” he says. “They all want to take me to lunch; they all want to hire my staff.”

The other winners of the challenge were Reps. Joe “Alligator Moat” Walsh (R-Ill.) and Mike Conaway (R-Texas).

Impressively, Conaway joined Twitter in May specifically for the competition.

“It gave our boss a good reason to want to get into social media,” Conaway spokesman Sam Ray explains.

One hundred and six Members and committees — that’s 54 freshmen, 44 upperclassmen and eight committees — participated in the New Media Challenge.

For the curious, here’s the final bracket.

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