For governor candidates, YouTube beats early rallies

June 12, 2013

YouTube
Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley released a YouTube video Tuesday announcing he wants to be governor of Illinois.

“Hi. I’m Bill Daley. And I’d like to take moment to talk to you about the State of Illinois.”

So begins an online video released Tuesday by former Democratic White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, in which he announces he wants to be Illinois’ next governor.

It comes on the heels of Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner’s own digital announcement, a highly produced YouTube video that’s garnered 50,000 views since it was released last week.

Lloyd Betourney, a political strategist based in Chicago’s south suburbs, said there’s a reason candidates are opting for YouTube videos.

“How often can a candidate talk to 4,000 voters at no cost, or very little cost?” Betourney asked.

Betourney said the videos released early in the campaign get the more politically rabid for very little money. But down the road, nothing beats TV ads and mailers to get the campaign message in front of voters, whether they ask for it or not.

So far, Republican Treasurer Dan Rutherford is the only gubernatorial candidate to hold a political rally in the campaign for 2014. He announced he’s running for governor at a private room at Harry Caray’s, a Chicago steakhouse, before touring the state. State Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard are also considering runs for the Republican nomination. So is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat.

Incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn only talked about his plans for reelection when asked by reporters at unrelated news conferences. He has repeatedly avoided answering questions about opponents’ criticisms of him by saying there is a time and a place to talk about politics.

Meantime, Dave Fako, president of Fako & Associates, another campaign strategy group based in west suburban Lisle, said those candidates further down the ballot from governor, who serve on the more local level, should still stress personal contact with voters as their campaign strategies.

“Especially at the very local levels, they should never abandon that more personal engagement with voters,” Fako said.

Fako said regardless of how a down ballot candidate uses the internet, politicians running for public office shouldn’t stop glad handing at Metra or L stops any time soon.

Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.