If Lam sometimes sounds as if she's running a tech startup -- seeding social networks and doing viral marketing - that's because in a way she is. As eCampaign director for the Republican Congressman from the 14th District of Texas, the product she's selling is R on Paul - a presidential candidate with a disproportionately strong following among libertarians on the Internet.
Thanks to Lam, Paul has emerged as the Howard Dean of 2008. Say what you will about his chances of winning the White House, Paul has proved once again that a candidate who knows how to tap the collective power of the Web can pull in serious cash. How serious? More than $18 million in the fourth quarter alone, almost all of it raised online using Web 2.0 tools like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You-Tube - you name it. Lam has even strapped a webcam to a baseball cap and broadcast live video of the candidate on Justin.tv.
Lam has been especially smart about knowing when to step back and let Paul's tech-savvy supporters run the show. When she needed a campaign video for a YouTube debate, the supporters held a contest and picked a homegrown commercial made by a Paul enthusiast. When another supporter turned out to be a whiz at online fundraising, Lam slapped together a tally board for him to display on his site and watched the money pour in. The first online "money bomb" raised $4.2 million. The second raised $6 million--the biggest one-day haul of any candidate to date.
Last updated December 27 2007: 9:36 AM ET