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The Challenges Of Mounting A Political Campaign

Photo composite by Dave Lucas

Launching and running a political campaign is one of the most challenging activities you can undertake. Launching a bid for local office or even mayor runs the gamut from intimidating to frustrating to exhilarating. American democracy enables all upstanding citizens to run for public office — at least, in theory. Going from idea and inspiration to launching a campaign is a process involving strict adherence to protocol, as New York Citizen One blogger Theresa Grafflin discovered when she attempted to run for city council in Albany's sixth ward. Like many others who aspire to serve, she drew inspiration from neighbors.

Grafflin intended to oust four-term incumbent Richard Conti, but got knocked off the Democratic line after an overwhelming number of signatures on her ballot petitions were invalidated.  Albany Democratic Mayoral hopeful Marlon Anderson also experienced the "perils of petitions."

As with Grafflin, a large number of Anderson's signatures were tossed by the Board of Elections, which determined some had incomplete or incorrect addresses while others appeared to be from unregistered voters. Anderson went back to square one - launching a new campaign - faced with dual-daunting tasks of getting on a different party line AND re-gathering signatures.

Conservative Albany mayoral candidate Joe Sullivan points out that many would-be candidates are stymied by the petitioning process. Sullivan adds that in Grafflin's sixth ward and in neighborhoods where Anderson has his best shot at drumming up support, petititions can be tough to fill up when citizens can't easily be reached.

Once on the ballot, Republican Albany mayoral candidate Jesse Calhoun says a key tool to winning any election is getting one's name before the public.

Voters will choose new leaders in the general election on November 5th.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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