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Briefings: Hurst Is the Second to Contest Mayoral Airwaves in Springfield…

Justin Hurst

Maybe not quite that big of a screen, but Hurst is on the air. (created via WMP&I and wikipedia images)

Days after the incumbent bought his first batch of airtime ahead of the September mayoral preliminary in Springfield, one of his major challengers has followed suit. At-large City Councilor Justin Hurst went up on television Thursday morning with a minute long spot. As of this posting, the Hurst campaign has booked it to run through August 16.

Hurst was the first to declare for mayor against Domenic Sarno, who is seeking reelection. Since then, the five-term councilor has pitched himself as a change agent, while both implicitly and directly bashing Sarno’s failures. Indeed, Hurst’s ad, which includes both his own biography and mayoral critiques, follows the path he has taken since announcing last November.

“For 16 years, Springfield has only operated for the few at the expense of the many,” Hurst said in a statement of WMP&I. Noting that his bid intends to change that, he continued, “I hope our first TV ad of this historic mayoral election conveys our love for this city and our desire to see it change for the better.”

Hurst is one of four challengers to Sarno in this year’s mayoral contest. Also in the race are City Council President Jesse Lederman and State Rep Orlando Ramos. David Ciampi, a therapist, is also on the ballot.

According to federal filings, the ad is scheduled to air during weekday newscasts and the Today show on WWLP, an NBC affiliate. It will also air during WGGB’s Western Mass News broadcasts. The total buy is a touch under $7,100 before agent fees.

The ad itself, a full minute, opens with a narration from Hurst lamenting many of the city’s struggles. About 15 seconds in, it turns to himself.

“I’m running for mayor of Springfield because I have the courage to fight for all us,” he says.


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Echoing an ad from his successful 2013 bid for Council, Hurst notes that he returned here after college to work and start a family. The ad closes by noting his decade on the Council and a commitment to renew the city and its neighborhoods.

It does stand in some contrast to Sarno’s trio of 30-second ads that are running now on the Springfield area’s broadcast stations.  Hurst’s montage of discouraging headlines about the city counters one of the mayor’s ads which hurls a wave of accomplishments of indeterminate date.

Sarno’s other two spots include validation from himself and, ostensibly, Sister Mary Caritas. But 16 years in, the mayor probably does not need to introduce himself. Hurst’s ad does, and includes shots at his kickoff and in his home with his kids and wife, Denise.

Justin and Denise Hurst

Hurst’s family has an extended cameo in the ad. (WMP&I)

The race has been somewhat low-key, with some public events and responses to current events in the city. However, that may begin to change as the candidates begin to meet for debates and forums scheduled for this month.

Compared to state and national contests, ads are popping up later in the race for Springfield mayor. Yet, this is still well before early voting begins August 30 and the preliminary itself on September 12.

Sarno’s ad buy was also modest, but both he and Hurst likely have the funds to buy more. One this is certain. Hurst and Sarno will not have the airwaves to themselves for too long. Lederman confirmed to WMP&I that he will have ads on television. Ramos did not respond to a request for comment. However, he has more than sufficient funds in his campaign account to join the advertising fray.