British Columbia·CITY VOTES 2014

Jillian Merrick wins council seat with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter

In Prince George, Jillian Merrick won a council seat, despite her low-cost campaign.

Jillian Merrick uses handmade signs and social media to win her seat on council

Prince George city councillor Jillian Merrick made strategic decisions to keep the cost of her election campaign low. (Jillian Merrick)

A big campaign budget is often the extra push candidates need to get elected, but Jillian Merrick won a council seat in Prince George, despite her low-cost campaign.

At the outset of the election campaign, Merrick vowed not to spend more than $5,000 on her bid to get elected.

To get her message out, Merrick made hand-crafted signs from recycled material, and used the website Thunderclap, through which people were able to tweet their support.

She also made a strategic purchase for an ad on YouTube, which was viewed more than 8,800 times. 

Toward the end of her campaign, Merrick was approached by the national branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which wanted to make a $7,000 donation.

The donation would push her total campaign budget to $12,000, so she asked her supporters on Facebook if she should take the money.

Merrick said most people told her to take the money, and actually win the seat.

"The overwhelming majority said I did it right by doing my low-budget campaign. I proved something through that."

In the end, Merrick spent $13,000 on her bid to get elected.

"I had to actually refuse several smaller donations in the last week because I had more money than I thought was necessary," she said.

Merrick finished fifth among the 25 council hopefuls, the highest of any non-incumbent.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this article stated Merrick's full campaign cost $7,000. In fact, it cost $13,000.
    Nov 18, 2014 4:13 PM PT

With files from Daybreak North's Andrew Kurjata

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