Later this week Real Hartford will publish the series of pieces resulting from interviews with the serious mayoral candidates.
What is considered serious?
That does not mean having the backing of a party, clout, or fundraising prowess. It’s simple: the individual has announced that he — and so far, only men are participating — is running for mayor and his campaign has online representation, whether it be a website, Facebook page, or Twitter account.
“Candidates” who have not yet announced and are only rumored to be running do not give the impression that they have the basic decision-making skills necessary for the job.
We invited candidates to be in touch with Real Hartford, and some who are only rumored to be running, did not make contact then.
What is the process?
When we announced that we would be doing these interviews, two of the four reached out directly, establishing some communication.
We went through the standard avenues first: contact campaign manager, ask to arrange meeting. Two of the candidates responding immediately — one himself, and one through the manager. Of those two, one uses a form on a website; the other just has a Facebook page.
The campaign manager of another did not respond quickly, so we took a secondary route and were instantly able to move ahead. Knowing who is even involved in the campaign proves useful.
A fourth — communication there is still wanting. In that case, the campaign manager did not respond, but then we learned that there was a change in staff so we tried again. This was acknowledged within hours, but has yielded nothing despite several follow up messages over the course of several days. After feeling like we were being strung along, we gave a reasonable deadline and that went flashing by.
Through social media and our mailing list, we asked readers to tell us what they wanted to know. Our readers are primarily Hartford residents, voters, so this approach seemed more logical than leaving a candidate’s potential future constituents to be told about issues that were less relevant to their lives. We re-worded to streamline some questions, grouped others together, and then added a few of our own. Each candidate was asked very similar questions, with a few wild cards thrown in.
They were not given questions in advance, though candidates who happen to read Real Hartford and pay attention to comments may have known what was coming. Nothing was presented as a “gotcha” question. There will be debates later in the season, but for now, we just wanted to hear what they had to say for themselves in a non-combative situation.