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Could Millenials swing the civic election?

The race for Patricia Boulevard officially got underway last week.

And in a big way.

Kyle Sampson’s entry into the race for a seat on city council drew about 120 people, which is pretty amazing. Mayoral announcements don’t usually draw that many people (I think Don Zurowski drew about 100), so for a city council candidate to draw that kind of crowd is unheard of. And the crowd consisted of a good cross section of the community … lots of young people (which Sampson, at 25 years old, is going to have the support of) and lots of business people (which Sampson is going to need the support of).

It makes Sampson a legitimate contender for one of the eight seats on city council. Those seats, however, aren’t going to be easy to come by.

At least seven of the incumbents are running again and, unless there is a mood for change like there was in 2014, incumbents are tough to unseat. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, it just doesn’t happen all that much.

The current council has been doing a pretty good job, so there isn’t an overwhelming mood for a change. There haven’t been any big controversies, streets are getting paved, potholes are getting fixed, the roads are getting plowed in the winter, and everything seems to be getting along.

That makes it tough for newcomers to get a seat at the table.

One of the pluses for Sampson is that he’s already very well known. Name recognition counts for a lot when it comes to Election Day.

The other plus for Sampson, and it could also be his Achilles Heel, is his age. At 25, he’s certainly got the enthusiasm and the energy and he has packed a lot of community volunteerism into those 25 years. But also, at 25, he could be viewed as being too young and too inexperienced by older voters (sadly my demographic). And it is the older demographic who are more likely to trundle down to the voting booth on Election Day.

Sampson will certainly appeal to the younger crowd … the Millenials … the social media folks. The challenge for Sampson will be to actually get those people out to the polls on October 20. It’s one thing to be engaged with the Millenial crowd and get likes and shares on Instagram (don’t get me wrong it all helps and is part of modern campaigning) but election victories are still about getting your supporters out to the polls on Election Day.

If Sampson can get more of his demographic out the voting booth October 20, it could be a double victory. Sampson could get elected to city council. But the bigger victory would be if his entry into the race draws more Millenials out on Election Day.


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