“The new Hamilton needs a new mayor,” McHattie told assembled media.
“Did you know Hamilton has almost 190 distinct neighbourhoods?,” McHattie rhetorically asked.
“Over the next 100 days I will be visiting and touring every single one of those neighbourhoods.”
He hopes to connect with voters across the City and be the first Mayor of amalgamated Hamilton to win with city-wide support.
McHattie says Hamilton needs ambitious mayors, like in the past, saying Sam Lawrence – a legendary labour leader before becoming mayor – is an example of how mayors in the past moved the City forward.
He proudly showed off a new pair of blues shoes that he purchased from Miller Shoes on James Street for the campaign.
“Brian Miller personally fitted me for those shoes, as he’s done for so many mayors in the history of Miller Shoes,” McHattie said.
Eisenberger campaign responds
Mayoral competitor Fred Eisenberger’s campaign wasted no time mocking McHattie’s announcement with Eisenberger campaign manager Chris Cutler, and campaign advisor Larry DiIanni both taking to Twitter:
@CBCHamilton @McHattie2014 Welcome to the campaign Brian. We were wondering where you were. Campaigning for mayor means leaving your ward
— Chris Cutler (@chrisinhamilton) July 2, 2014
### Seriously, Announcing Your Campaigning?
#HamOnt politics heats up as mayoralty candidates do bbq circuit/ fundraisers. @McHattie2014 'touring' city. 'Just visiting' not best image!
— Larry Di Ianni (@LarryDiIanni) July 2, 2014
Initially, it appears that McHattie gathered the media to announce that as a candidate for mayor, he was planning to campaign city-wide.
It seems a bit absurd, doesn’t it?
It took me a rant, two coffees, and some thought to realize this was a good move by the McHattie campaign.
McHattie used a slow news day to take control of the news narrative. Wednesday, it was all about him (with help from Eisenberger’s team).
It’s said all politics is local, is that hyperlocal now?
Hamiltonians identify heavily with their neighbourhoods. I’ve never heard anyone identify themselves by Ward, they identify themselves by neighbourhood or community.
Nobody lives in “Ward 15″, they live in Carlisle, Waterdown, Freelton, and the other villages of Flamborough.
Downtown, most residents identify by Beasley, Central, Corktown, or Durand.
McHattie is going hyperlocal, where voters are – the only question is if he’ll connect with them.
[module type=”aside” width=”half” align=”right”]Coverage by other local media
CHCH: Hamilton mayoral contender McHattie launches tour
TheSpec: McHattie launches 100-day tour of city’s neighbourhoods
HCN: McHattie launches neighbourhood tour
CBC: McHattie plans 100-day tour to every Hamilton neighbourhood[/module]
It’s unconventional, candidates usually focus their summer on fundraising, finalizing the campaign team, logistics, and printing materials.
They show up at festivals, fairs, and appear at any gathering the size of the line for a food truck. They don’t gather at a kitchen table except to raise money.
To succeed, McHattie needs to meet the nodes in neighbourhood networks and for them to spread word of his candidacy. By Thanksgiving – when undecided voters start deciding – McHattie’s website will have content for every neighbourhood, – if packaged well – be seen to address street-level issues, and distinguish him from others candidates.
He succeeds if key neighbourhood influences share his message on social media platforms outside of the traditional media and chattering classes.
The risk is he’ll miss voters during the summer months, wasting resources that could be more effectively spent after Labour Day.
At the very least, McHattie is the first candidate to commit to updating his website every day.
We'll record his progress on a photo blog at https://t.co/hZVFNCrFaJ and mapping his progress through #HamOnt at https://t.co/VzURJfBofM
— Brian McHattie 2014 (@McHattie2014) July 2, 2014
Will the Issues Please Stand Up
Thus far, candidates have only staked out positions on LRT. McHattie is steadfast in his support, Eisenberger supports LRT but says we need to reset on the issue, Crystal Lavigne is opposed and thinks LRT supporters are “uninformed”, and Clark’s only supports LRT with full provincial funding.
Update: Baldasaro posted to his Facebook an LRT plan for a GO Station to GO station line.