SALEM &

ActBlue, the online political fundraising site, continues to rake in campaign cash for Democratic candidates.




Steve Novick, the first Democrat to begin campaigning in earnest against U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., has netted more than $111,000 in increments of less than $200 from ActBlue to help bankroll his 2008 race.




Helped by left-leaning blogs, including Loaded Orygun, urging their readers to donate to the Internet-based political action committee, Novick raised $12,157 in June, making him the No. 6 ActBlue recipient nationwide.




"It's not all magic money that appears off the Internet, but some of it is," said Novick, who said he recently received $1,000 from a donor in Redondo Beach, Calif. who learned of his campaign through online postings.




Many people, Novick added, still prefer to contribute the old-fashioned way: stuff a check in an envelope and mail it.




Based in Massachusetts, ActBlue boasts it has raised more than $25.6 million for Democratic candidates and committees since its founding in 2004 by two graduate students in Boston.




Among Democratic presidential hopefuls, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards brought in $168,898, the most through ActBlue, followed by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who raised $15,673.




For the GOP, there's ABCPac, which Republicans hope will grow into their own grass-roots fund-raising site. Since its founding last year, the site has funneled $300,000 congressional candidates, according to its Web site.




For his part, Smith has raised at least $3.5 million in his campaign war chest and promises to raise much more money.




Political observers say with Smith's bulging campaign coffers and national Democrats pledging to pump millions into the election, Oregon's senate race may prove to be one of the most expensive in the nation this election cycle.




So far, in the May 2008 primary contest for a chance to unseat Smith is Novick and state House Speaker Jeff Merkley of Portland.




Former Jefferson Public Radio host Jeff Golden of Ashland is still considering a run. State Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, announced last week that he will not run.




covers politics for the Ashland Daily Tidings. He can be reached at csrizo@hotmail.com.