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Mayoral Race Plays On Social Media

Composite image by Dave Lucas/WAMC

There's a new factor playing a role in the Albany mayoral race: social media.

It has been said that politics puts social networking and communication to the ultimate test.  Libertarian Party candidate Alexander Portelliwas the first to toss his hat in the ring.

Republican hopeful Jesse Calhoun hails social media as "both a blessing and a curse."

Democratic frontrunner and city treasurer Kathy Sheehan hasn't responded to requests for comment, but she's currently active on both Facebook and Twitter, which candidates from the White House on down have increasingly embraced every election cycle. Sheehan’s opponent in the Democratic primary Corey Ellis has reached out to voters on both Twitter and Facebook: Ellis spokesperson Heather Moffitt says social media is used to share news of campaign events and increase awareness of Ellis’ biography and positions.

Conservative contender Joe Sullivan says his blog has been an effective campaign tool. Independent Marlon Anderson channels most of his efforts through social networking.  Anderson says the reach candidates achieve through social media is tremendous and levels the playing field when it comes to public interaction.

Social media has also influenced coverage of the race, as news outlets live Tweet candidate forums and debates.

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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