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Published: Tuesday, 4/14/2009

Konop claims Facebook win

Toledo mayoral candidate Ben Konop claimed victory Monday - in the number of people signing onto his Facebook page.

The 33-year-old Democrat said his 1,388 Facebook friends - more than three times as many as any of his major opponents - demonstrate his appeal to young and technologically savvy voters.

"I think it demonstrates the grass-roots appeal of my campaign and why I'll be the next mayor of Toledo," he said.

Facebook pages are like regular Web pages, but are designed to be more personal and interactive. Opponents Keith Wilkowski and Mike Bell denied that Mr. Konop enjoys cyber-superiority. "We are confident that our campaign has the largest and most engaged online presence," said Ben Krompak, spokesman for Democratic mayoral candidate Mr. Wilkowski. He said Facebook "is but one tool to communicate with supporters."

Mark Luetke, a spokesman for Mr. Bell, an independent, said nearly 100 volunteers signed up since Mr. Bell announced March 25. "The Bell campaign is extremely pleased with the support it has gotten so far, both online and from traditional sources," Mr. Luetke said.

Republican Jim Moody did not respond to requests about online support.

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