While it was no big surprise that Newt Gingrich would announce a presidential run, his use of Twitter to do so appears to be another first for the rapidly growing social network, reports the National Journal.
Following in the footsteps of my friend Adriel Hampton, who was the first to announce a congressional campaign via Twitter, Gingrich used both Twitter and Facebook to let the world know he was officially entering the 2012 race.
Much like former speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tweet last summer to reconvene the House, Gingrich’s announcement Tweet is further evidence politicians continue to expand their adoption of social media, especially Twitter, to quickly get their message out to key audiences.
According to Federal Election Commission rules (as explained in this post from CNN quoted below), when such a committee is formed and filed with the FEC, they officially become a candidate (and Romney is listed as such at the FEC site).
Q: Is someone with an exploratory committee a candidate?
Whether someone is or is not a candidate is, in a practical sense, a matter of semantics. Legally, anyone who creates a federal campaign committee and has submitted a Statement of Candidacy is a candidate, regardless of whether his or her campaign committee contains the word “exploratory.”
For news organizations, the distinction is more difficult since a presidential hopeful who sets up a campaign committee with the FEC and calls it an exploratory committee might still say that no decision has been made and that he or she is not yet a candidate.
The reality is that many (but not all) individuals who are seriously considering a bid for president take the legal steps to become a candidate before they have decided that they want to run or before they are prepared to declare their candidacies publicly. Some exploratory candidates, however, do not create an exploratory committee with the FEC and therefore do not officially become legal candidates when they create their exploratory committee.
So technically, it would appear that Mitt Romney could claim to be the first to announce a presidential run via Twitter; but given the language of the two tweets, I lean toward giving the nod to Newt.