I honestly didn’t think it would catch on this quickly — the use of digital media in my local elections, that is. Granted, the applications of digital techniques in my local Jersey City mayoral election have been crude, but they’re there. (The last time around we were lucky to see a static Web site from any candidates.)
This year, I’ve spotted display ads for a few candidates (current mayor Jerry Healy, mayoral hopeful Dan Levin, and city council candidates Guy Catrillo and Steve Fulop) on a start-up local news site, The Jersey City Independent.
Healy’s camp — which is reportedly spending millions on his re-election campaign — is also running search ads targeted to his own name and opponents. A search on “Healy Jersey City” turns up a sponsored link that reads, “Delivering Change We Can See In Jersey City www.Healy09.com Jersey City, NJ.”
Candidate and former interim-Mayor Harvey Smith has a decent-looking site with lots of video and up-to-date posts. Yet, I haven’t spotted any ads from his camp. Perennial Mayoral hopeful Lou Manzo doesn’t seem to have much of a presence online. I did, however, stumble upon an old site promoting him as a public advocate. No mention there of his recent campaign to unseat Healy, though. His camp has been running full-page ads in the Jersey Journal print frequently, though.
The oft-forgotten candidate for JC Mayor, Phil Webb, had little to be found online. I thought this Craigslist post was novel, though:
MAY 12, 2009 IS THE ELECTION
PLEASE GO TO YOU TUBE.COM AND TYPE IN PHIL WEBB NET, TO VIEW HIS COMMERCIAL….
THANK YOU AND PLEASE PASS THE WORD…
Yesterday, our local paper, The Jersey Journal, ran an ad for Michael Manzo, running for the council in my Ward (B). The ad included his phone, fax, e-mail address, and a suggestion: “be my friend on Facebook.” I had to do a search, and not surprising there are lots of Michael Manzos out there. A search for his name + Jersey City found him easily. Still, it’s closed to non-friends. If I’m doing my election research online, I have to wait to be approved by him before I can view what seems to be a proxy for his campaign site. It doesn’t do me a lot of good. Healy’s camp, on the other hand, has a Facebook group set up that I can view without friend-ing.
I’ve been receiving e-mails here and there throughout the spring on behalf of Mayor Healy’s campaign, which are obviously coming through a local news outlet I’ve registered with. I suspect an anti-Healy message (shown above) I got today to the same address might have come through the same purchased e-mail list. It was essentially a digitized version of a flyer that, according to a story in today’s JJ, a local real estate developer has been disseminating in the city’s primarily-Black neighborhoods.
Candidate’s television ads and anti-Healy video on YouTube has also been a factor this year, but how much of a factor is anybody’s guess.
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