Delaware Senate candidates escalate cyber campaign

    Online ads generate buzz in Delaware senate race

    The traditional “Delaware Way” of campaigning for office involves going door-to-door, shaking the hands of thousands of voters, and attending fairs, festivals and town hall meetings.  However, the “Delaware Way” is evolving as candidates in the state’s high-profile Senate race turn to social media to get their message out.

    With their nationally-televised debate approaching, Republican hopeful Christine O’Donnell posted a movie-trailer type of message on her website, fitting for the season of Halloween.  It depicts her Democratic opponent, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, as “The Tax Man.”

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5aJAyBp_S8[/youtube]

    Coons’ campaign website, as well, accuses O’Donnell of having “no plan to promote job creation,” and calls her a “tea party celebrity.”

    Delaware State University Political Science Professor Sam Hoff says First State voters are getting used to this style of campaigning, and candidates are learning that it can be an effective way to “float” a message before spending money on advertising.  Because Delaware has no commercial television stations, candidates utilize cable TV or expensive Philadelphia broadcast outlets.

    “This allows the one-on-one connection with each voter who simply has a computer and can follow the campaign online,” Hoff said.

    Coons and O’Donnell will meet in a debate Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Delaware.  The event will be carried live on WHYY.  Dick Polman, national columnist for whyy.org/delaware will join Bill Cook for a discussion.  House Minority leader Dick Cathcart and former New Castle County President Stephanie Hansen will also discuss the debate between 8:30 and 9.  No tickets remain to see the debate live at Mitchell Hall.

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