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On primary day, the tale of warring hashtags

These candidates might not have the votes, but they sure do love the #Constitution.
Sen. Mitch McConnell
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) votes in the state Republican primary at Bellarmine University May 19, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.

In primaries across the country, underdog candidates are taking to social media to try and stand out from the crowd or snag a few last minute votes.

In today’s headliner race in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—whose own social media made headlines months ago—is expected to defeat tea party challenger Matt Bevin and his catchy #DitchMitch hashtag, but that’s not stopping Bevin from putting up a good fight online.

Bevin, who is trailing in polls by 20 points according to one recent poll, has used an aggressive social media strategy to try and gain some momentum against McConnell.

Bevin has tried to detract from the McConnell's key endorsement by Sen. Rand Paul, attempting to illustrate how his own views align much better with the Kentucky junior senator and tea party icon’s.

While most of the heavy hitters polling with a percentage of the vote stick to pretty straightforward get-out-the-vote, red-white-and-blue colored messaging, it’s the long-shot candidates who break out some of the most interesting tweets and posts.

Farther South, in Georgia’s crowded Republican primary to replace Sen. Saxby Chambliss, seven candidates are vying for votes in a primary that will almost likely result in a run-off. Three candidates are polling well and sticking to the predictable ‘thank you for your support’ tweets while one underdog candidate, Georgia Republican Derrick Grayson, who has dubbed himself “the Minister of Truth” (complete with a shorter hashtag for easy sharing, #TMOT), has an active social presence, despite the fact that it regularly repeats the same copy over and over again.

Earlier this month, Grayson came to rancher Cliven Bundy’s emphatic defense with a bizarre YouTube video. The video, like many others on his YouTube channel, was taped while Grayson is driving. The candidate alternates addressing the camera with watching the road. (#Multitasking?) 

Up north in Pennsylvania, Democrats are facing off in a crowded primary in their quest to represent Pennsylvania's 13th District. 

State Sen. Daylin Leach—who was polling with just 7% last summer and has since been dropped from pollsters’ lists—has an unusual social strategy, one based almost entirely on his unusual sense of humor.

Daylin has not won any Nobel prizes; in fact, this is a rumor he started four years ago, according to what appears to be his old blog.

Also in Pennsylvania, Democrats are facing off to snag the party's nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. State Treasurer Rob McCord is polling well below leader Tom Wolf, the York businessmen who sunk millions into his own campaign, but that hasn't stopped McCord from using social media to highlight his sense of humor in attempts to encourage voters to turn out for him.


McCord also retweeted a Democratic activist's get-out-the-vote tweet on Tuesday, which riffs off a Beyoncé lyric and album cover.

Allyson Scwartz, who is also polling behind Wolf, also showed she's nothing if not creative in her attempts to use social media to motivate voters.

As of press time, Questlove did not respond.

Additional reporting by Kelly Weill.