1. Ben Tribbett of Not Larry Sabato does a terrific job of covering Virginia politics. I'm biased, of course, because I now live in the Commonwealth. Tribbet's success didn't happen over night. In fact, his blog's tagline currently reads: "2009 marks the 5th election cycle where Virginia was lucky enough to have Not Larry Sabato." While Tribbett is a liberal blogger, he has plenty of fans and enemies on both sides of the aisle. Love him or hate him, it is clear Tribbett is a popular blogger who never fails to entertain and educate.
2. Rob Port calls Say Anything Blog, "North Dakota's Most Popular Blog." I have no idea about his page views, but when it comes to generating buzz and influencing the debate -- there is no doubt he is correct. Again, I'm biased because of my having lived in North Dakota, but I think it is clear that Port is, objectively speaking, one of the most prominent state-based bloggers to emerge from the state-level conservative blogosphere. Say Anything Blog now includes many pages, including a message board, a page dedicated solely to North Dakota politics, and Reader blogs. Port's radio show, the Say Anything Show is on from 7- 9 PM (central) on Saturdays, 8 - 9 on Sundays through Tuesdays. He is also a frequent fill-in for prominent radio host Scott Hennen.
(... Honorable mention goes to Andrew Griffin, who runs Red Dirt Report. In fairness, RDR is less a blog and more a Drudge Report for Oklahoma conservatives.)
Your favorite state bloggers may be different than mine. Regardless, it is important to note that while these bloggers have been successful due to their insight and hard work -- it's also clear that there is a real hunger for local political news. As many local newspapers close and local radio stations play nationally-syndicated material, a niche has developed for blogs play a key role.
This presents a tremendous opportunity for young bloggers, willing to cover local politics, to quickly become major "players" in their community.
In the case of both Tribbett and Port, popular state bloggers can then parlay their success into national attention. And just as some of today's successful politicians began as talk radio hosts, I predict we will see some politicians who got their start by blogging at the local level ...