NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 7, 2013

A new-fashioned way of running for office

NEWBURYPORT — Local political campaigns have been traditionally grounded in fundraising and sign-carrying, but City Councilor Ari Herzog appears to be one of the first to successfully wage a modern online initiative.

In the wake of Tuesday’s municipal election, Herzog emerged third in the at-large voting for City Council. (Early returns telephoned to the city’s clerk’s office initially had him the top vote-getter; a more thorough vote count yesterday placed him in third.)

In generating 2,893 votes, Herzog won his third straight term as a councilor.

Unlike most candidates, he raised no money nor did he create a formal re-election committee. And Herzog put out just 24 modest signs, printed four years ago.

Yet the 38-year-old Herzog was aggressive with online campaigning.

He has a Facebook group (with 114 members) and a Facebook page (with 158 fans).

The former City Hall staffer maintains a blog and he sends out a steady stream of messages on Twitter. And he maintains an online newsletter. The link to his blog is http://councilorariherzog.com.

Though Herzog was outside holding signs and pressing the flesh on Tuesday, the candidate was managing a larger campaign initiative through use of online tools.

“I’ve been active of Facebook since 2005,” said Herzog, a media consultant who resides on Prospect Street. “Thousands of local people are online every day, and there are many ways to reach them.

“Knocking on doors is still the best way of meeting the voters, but online activity is an important part of my campaign — and it’s getting to be more valuable.”

Just prior to the election, Herzog splurged and took out $30 worth of advertising on Facebook. He said that the organization reported that 5,500 users in the Newburyport area saw his message.

About 55 percent of Newburyport’s 11,200 registered voters went to the polls yesterday and were generous to incumbents like Herzog.

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