3 Chicago mayor hopefuls flunk early online campaign test

6 Nov

If you can’t judge a book by its cover, can you judge a Chicago mayoral campaign by its Web site? Some candidates better hope that isn’t the case.

This being the computer age, DePolitics1011.com took an early sampling of how the seven most prominently-mentioned hopefuls are embracing new technology. Four have launched campaign-dedicated websites: Gery Chico, Miguel Del Valle, Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun. Three get good reviews, while one barely gets a passing grade.

Meanwhile, Danny Davis, Ricky Hendon and Rev. James Meeks completely flunk this early test as none of them have much of an online presence at all.

Here are the observations:

Gery Chicowww.gerychicoformayor.com

Gery’s site is well-organized and very straightforward, beginning with an “About Gery” page and a countdown to Election Day in the upper left corner of the home page. He has the best logo of the bunch, incorporating the flag of Chicago with his name. The photos on his site are by far the most professional looking. Also, there are links to Facebook, Twitter and an e-mail update list. The site is available in English, Spanish and Polish. A “For the Media” tab provides PDF press releases for reporters—user-friendly for the media to attain info. Chico’s site is the most comprehensive of all mayoral sites thus far.

Miguel Del Valle – www.delvalleformayor.com

His campaign site, separate from his Chicago City Clerk site, has a smooth layout, giving plenty of platforms and personal background information. Supporters are given an option to contribute via PayPal, or download a petition form to get 10 signatures from family and friends. Viewers are brought to a homepage with a “Message from Miguel Del Valle,” which automatically begins to play. The video is a little over 90 seconds long and works well. The color scheme follows the Chicago flag and ties in the Windy City, but there is a little too much white space on the page and it looks more like a blog than a Web site. Under the “Contact Us” link they have an actual office address and phone number.

Rahm Emanuel – www.chicagoforrahm.com

His site is easy to use and does a great job of creating interaction with viewers. The page opens up to a personal greeting from Emanuel that is very straightforward. The downside is that it automatically plays every time the home page is refreshed and can get annoying. There are also English and Spanish options, plus links for Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. A “Share Your Ideas for Chicago” tab in which visitors can make suggestions as well as submit their name and e-mail address. Like several other sites, there is no telephone number for reaching a campaign office. Emanuel’s Web site definitely makes him otherwise available to the public and easy to follow in the mayoral race.

Carol Moseley-Braunwww.carolforchicago.com

Carol’s site isn’t much; just her picture with a link to her Facebook page and Twitter account. But at least she has a site. If she’s serious, it’s time to get more content up.

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