|By Liz Reyna|
Each mayoral candidate is using a different strategy to reach voters online.
Last week at Sir Pizza in Old Town, mayoral candidate and At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood and campaign workers gathered to unveil her new, completely volunteer-made campaign Web site.
A group of young men from Lansing’s north side renovated the site, www.CarolWoodforLansing.com, as a volunteer effort for Wood’s campaign. Although Wood’s site offers a lot to do it’s not quite as sleek as challengers Charles Ford ’s and incumbent Mayor Virg Bernero’s. However, the three candidates are using a different method to reach voters in cyberspace.
The three face each other in the Aug. 4 primary election along with Ben Hassenger, who employs MySpace instead of a dedicated campaign Web site.
Wood’s Web site is still a work in progress says Major Young, 34, the leader of the group that redesigned the site, which includes his brothers Tony, 19, and Timothy, 30, and friend Dwayne Goodwin, 21. Wood’s Web site now features an entry with a picture of the Capitol with her photo on over it; there is an updated photo section and even a “kids’ zone” that features games like “Rocket Pig” and “Ms. Pacman.”
“The kids wanted to know what could Carol do for them because they figured they didn’t matter. Carol had a nice little conversation with them and told them when she gets in office she’s going to change things,” Young said.
Ford has had a professionally designed Web site up for months and Bernero has been steamrolling both his competitors with social networking.
Bernero Campaign Manager Patrick McAlvey said his candidate’s Web site was done in-house with local professionals.
McAlvey said the most important thing a Web site should have is candidate history, background information and crucially, their stance on the issues. (Bernero’s shows a record of past issues and votes.)
Ford, an attorney and member of the Lansing School Board, hired John Addis of Addis Enterprises to do his site. As the mayoral candidates look to gain more votes leading up to the primary, candidate Web designers are pushing hard for a finished product.
The quick work done for free by Wood’s team is a contrast from the normally $3,000 multiple month-long process Addis describes. His process takes three to four hours of a one-page mock-up alone.
“Personally, I feel that it could be damaging to (Wood) if she is holding out on funds for Web site making, TV and radio ads,” Addis said, referring to whether Wood thinks Ford — who is likely to have all three — isn’t a competitor.