Election 2019

Alan Butkovitz surprised his campaign website is live — and a mess

The mayoral candidate left race and gender labels on his promo photos.

Mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz speaks with two women in a photo posted to his campaign website

Mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz speaks with two women in a photo posted to his campaign website

Alan for Mayor
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Updated 1:36 p.m.

Some people like to say they don’t see skin color. That’s harder when it’s spelled out in giant block lettering.

With less than two and a half months until the primary election, mayoral candidate Alan Butkovitz still doesn’t have a fully operational campaign website. But in recent days, new content has been added to alanformayor.com.

Most notable is the batch of professionally shot photos that show a serious candidate.

In the two dozen images in the gallery, Butkovitz, the former Democratic city controller, is talking. He’s listening. He’s handshaking around town with Philadelphians of every stripe — emphasis on every stripe.

Screenshot of photo gallery on Alan Butkovitz's mayoral campaign website

Screenshot of photo gallery on Alan Butkovitz's mayoral campaign website

In fact, many of the photos are visibly labelled according to the race, ethnicity and gender of the people ostensibly listening to Butkovitz’s campaign pitch.

A partial list of photo labels displayed on the site as of Friday:

  • With AfAm.jpeg
  • Talking with Kids.jpg
  • Talking with Mother & Daughter.jpg
  • Talking with White Couple.jpg
  • Talking with PR Man.jpg
  • Walking w AfAm Women.jpeg
  • Talking with AfAm Women11.jpg
Screenshot of photo gallery on Alan Butkovitz's mayoral campaign website

Screenshot of photo gallery on Alan Butkovitz's mayoral campaign website

Butkovitz’s campaign was surprised to learn their own website had prematurely gone live. The page returned to under-construction mode after a reporter alerted them to the gaffe. While the page included a donate feature, Kristen Stoner, Butkovitz’s campaign manager, said the team had not been using the website to solicit contributions.

The campaign did not offer any further comment.

To be fair, any consultant will tell you outward shows of diversity are a necessary facet of a run for political office, especially in Philadelphia.

Campaign teams go to great lengths to ensure their candidate is seen next to, talking to and listening to, well, African-American women, Puerto Rican men, white couples and so on.

But the age-old maxim of “show, don’t tell” usually applies.

Screenshot from Alan Butkovitz campaign photo gallery

Screenshot from Alan Butkovitz campaign photo gallery

The website also included literature on Butkovitz’s credentials as the city’s fiscal watchdog for over a decade, as well as an up-to-date piece attacking his opponent. (One bullet points noted Kenney’s ties to recently indicted labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty.)

Other material was less than ready for primetime.

As of Friday, Butkovitz’s biography appeared to have been copy-and-pasted directly from his Wikipedia page, including citation notes. The sections about his vision and mission included the placeholder text:

“I’m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.”

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 4.29.43 PM

“Paragraph” for Philly mayor? It has a certain ring.

Want some more? Explore other Election 2019 stories.

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