The Obama campaign used the ancient direct mail technique of the sweepstakes to great effect in 2012. It was good for fundraising, great for list maintenance (and growth) and helped create buzz. Now comes the McAuliffe campaign, using the same angle, and with a solid grand prize:

I’m honored [Michelle Obama is] joining us in Virginia on Thursday evening to talk about why this election is so important.

Donate $5 or more today and you’ll be automatically entered for the chance join us — we’ll even make sure you get a picture to remember the night.

Michelle is taking the time to support this campaign because the stakes couldn’t be higher for Virginians who need a Governor to put jobs first instead of pushing a divisive social agenda.

Note that the prospective winner isn’t going to have a one-on-one with the First Lady — it’s just a chance to meet her and get a photographic keepsake of what will likely be a very brief encounter.

Even so, it will probably generate solid returns and expand McAuliffe’s list. They’ve gotten very good at this sort of pitch, but it’s not like they are doing anything radical. It’s a sweepstakes appeal, for heaven’s sake. Still, it’s better than what is coming out of the Republican statewide campaigns…which still tend to treat e-mail as if it was snail mail.

Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.