While the 2013 mayoral candidates — Democrat Toni Harp ARC’78 and Independent Justin Elicker FES’10 SOM’10 — are both in the final stretch of a campaign for the same office, they have embraced two different ways of delivering their messages to New Haven voters.
Toni Harp ARC ’78, the Democratic candidate, has utilized more traditional advertising, such as yard signs, while petitioning candidate Justin Elicker’s FES ’10 SOM’10 advertising has present newer techniques.
Of the three members of the New Haven Board of Alderman interviewed — none of whom represented Yale, Elicker or Harp — all agreed that Harp’s campaign had put up more signs in their wards. All three aldermen said they had seen Elicker’s TV ad, while two of them said they had seen Harp’s.
Elicker, on the other hand has deployed some less orthodox techniques – namely, he has used the Internet, mainly Youtube, to communicate directly with voters via twelve videos. He has even famously given out his personal cell phone number at debates.
Sacred Heart University Political Science Professor Gary Rose said that he found Elicker’s use of Youtube an excellent way to reach young voters, though it was also an indication of his general “underdog” status.
“That appeals to a particular slice of the New Haven electorate and that in itself is important,” he said. “Everything this guy can do to elevate his profile is important.”
Elicker has also deployed some more orthodox advertising methods, moreover – on October 24, for example, he began taking part in one of the greatest clichés of modern politics, running his first TV ad of the campaign.
The tactic apparently seeks to compensate for a weakness Elicker himself articulated in a previous Youtube video to supporters – namely, his campaign’s name recognition. Elicker agreed with this proposition in an interview with the News, while adding “it’s easier for Toni [Harp], because she’s just been around forever.”
Harp has since followed Elicker with her own TV ad, which began airing October 31. The ad, like Elicker’s, is positive – the Democratic-endorsed candidate does not mention her opponent and focuses instead on biographical details, as well as Harp’s Legislature success in passing gun safety laws and funding New Haven after-school programs.
Rose said that Harp’s ad was primarily a tactic of “getting out her base,” and that the ad did not reflect any actual concern on the part of the campaign for Harp’s performance tomorrow. He added that Harp has “a pretty good war chest” and that the ad was probably an “insurance” measure.
According to the last filing deadline Harp has raised an aggregate total of $503,496, whereas Elicker has raised $308,481 since their respective campaigns began.