It Takes Real Money to Win New Bedford Mayorship [OPINION]
People are busy living their lives. They are also bombarded with advertising constantly. Political campaigns are advertising operations and they cost money.
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it did it really make a sound? is an old question for philosophers. The same line of questioning applies to political campaigns. If a candidate runs for office but never gets their message out to the voters, did they really run for office?
Anybody who claims residency in the city and can get the minimum number of required signatures on their nomination papers can get on the ballot to run for mayor, School Committee, City Council, etc. The city makes it easy for people to run for office and that is probably a good thing overall.
But getting on the ballot is almost meaningless in the competition to win the election. Without a serious campaign structure and knowledge of the political process in the city, some on the ballot have about the same chance as someone who isn't on the ballot against an incumbent.
It takes a large budget to buy the advertising points necessary to break through the modern mind that is the voter. The candidates are not just up against other candidates, they are up against every other advertising campaign in the marketplace. This is particularly true for first-time candidates who must first develop name identification and a positive image in the mind of the voters.
It is a cruel but true statement that "a nobody can't beat a somebody" at the ballot box.
During the 2015 campaign for mayor, incumbent Mayor Jon Mitchell's campaign wrote a check for $11,056.00 to the parent company of WBSM radio to tell the voters why they should re-elect him. His campaign spent $12,684.21 on door hangers and other printed material with Reynolds-Dewalt on one day alone. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on digital media ads and on staff and food for events.
Mayor Jon Mitchell has about $200,000 in his campaign account and nobody else is even close at this time in the election cycle.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.