[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/23/art.moran1.gi.jpg caption="Moran is launching an online social network."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - In Virginia, where this fall's gubernatorial election will likely be seen as a test of the White House's political muscle, Democratic hopeful Brian Moran has become the first candidate of the 2009 cycle to launch an online social network - and it doesn't stray far from President Obama's winning model.
Last year, the Obama campaign's social networking platform - My.BarackObama.com - became an indispensable tool for mobilizing the grassroots supporters that helped propel him to victory.
Moran's new site is called "Organize Virginia," a title that calls to mind "Organizing for America," the Obama perma-campaign apparatus that undertook a nationwide canvass over the weekend to rally support for the president's budget.
The site has a look and feel reminiscent of the Obama online platform, offering supporters tools to organize on their own by starting groups, raising money, blogging and planning events.
The Moran campaign isn't hiding from the obvious comparison.
"Our online organizing tool connects the grassroots and the netroots, just like the Obama campaign," said Moran spokesman Jesse Moran. "We can be the first to do this effectively because, from local leaders to big city mayors, we have the grassroots necessary to support it."
The site, which went live for supporters on Friday, was created by Jerome Armstrong, the pioneering blogger and strategist who once worked for former Virginia governor Mark Warner when the now-Senator was considering a presidential bid in 2007.
Moran is running for his party's nomination against two other Democrats: former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe and state Sen. Creigh Deeds. The winner of the June 9 primary will face off against Republican Bob McDonnell, the commonwealth's former Attorney General.