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    Boston mayor’s race is lacking slogans with snap

    Succinct statements like these slogans appear on bumper stickers and signs created by the 12 candidates’ campaigns.
    Succinct statements like these slogans appear on bumper stickers and signs created by the 12 candidates’ campaigns.

    This isn’t a “Together We Can” or “Change We Can Believe In’’ kind of campaign year.

    When it comes to slogans in the mayoral campaign, there isn’t one zinger that grabs voters’ attention.

    The punchiest slogan goes to “Forward with Felix,” whose use of alliteration highlights Felix Arroyo’s name and his message that he’s the one to lead Boston’s future, his campaign said.


    “It’s important to differentiate that it’s not just about Felix running for mayor, it’s about moving the city forward,’’ said campaign spokeswoman Clare Kelly.

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    Slogans are a part of a political adviser’s massive arsenal to drive up a candidate’s name recognition and set the candidate apart from the rest of the field, said Jeffrey M. Berry, political science professor at Tufts University.

    “What’s important is name recognition, and a slogan can be an avenue to that recognition,’’ said Berry.

    But Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, said that in the larger context, slogans aren’t terribly important, especially if it is unclear what voters are focusing on. “My guess is we haven’t got to a point where slogans are going to be decisive,’’ Watanabe said.

    The public normally remembers slogans of the winning candidate such as “I Like Ike,’’ Dwight Eisenhower’s pithy rhyme that resonated during the 1952 presidential campaign, he said.


    President Obama sailed into victory on “Change We Can Believe In,’’ and Governor Deval Patrick’s “Together We Can” slogan galvanized Bay State voters.

    “I’m sure Mitt Romney had a slogan, but I sure can’t remember what it was,’’ said Watanabe. In the race for mayor of Boston, he said, “no one has yet to come up with something that sets them apart from any of the 11.”

    In his two decades on the job, Mayor Thomas M. Menino used a few slogans to help grab voters and rack up victories, including “A Good Man for a Great City” and “Moving Boston Forward.”

    This year’s slew of 12 candidates are coming around to the idea of using slogans or catch phrases, which are on bumper stickers, yard signs, and TV ads. Some are clever; others are, let’s just say, duds.

    “They all get a C-minus from the professor,’’ said Berry.


    Berry said political slogans are no different from ads by major corporations trying to get the public to buy their product.

    ‘My guess is we haven’t got to a point where slogans are going to be decisive.’ — Paul Watanabe, political science professor

    “McDonald’s uses slogans, just like Bill Walczak,’’ he said.

    In fact, Walczak who had eschewed slogans, decided to create one this week that is emblazoned on his newly revised campaign website: “Bold Ideas for Boston’s Future.”

    His campaign said it got the idea after Walczak came out strongly against casinos and his calls for such things as an innovation district in East Boston.

    Walczak’s slogan is not exactly snappy, but neither are the others from his competitors.

    Rob Consalvo, a Boston city councilor, is rallying behind “Making Boston Better” on his blue and white campaign signs. He recently unveiled new signs reading “All In For Boston.” Consalvo’s camp said the slogans aim to convey that he will build on Menino’s progress in the city.

    Charlotte Golar Richie is using “Uniquely Qualified to Serve,” a theme her campaign hopes will attract voters to visit her website and learn more about her experiences in city and state government.

    Michael Ross, another city councilor, has “Boston Smarter” on his campaign signs to express his new ideas around improving schools, creating jobs, and finding ways to solve youth violence, according to his campaign.

    Martin J. Walsh, a state representative, has T-shirts and bumper stickers with his flagship slogan: “Marty for Mayor.”

    “It rolls right off the tongue and it made sense,’’ said spokeswoman SJ Port.

    Daniel Conley, the Suffolk district attorney, is touting “Boston’s Best Days Are Ahead of Us.”

    John Barros’s campaign said the candidate’s catch phrase “Stand Up Now” is less of a slogan and more of a theme that embodies Barros’s values and beliefs. Spokesman Matt Patton said slogans might be catchy and quick, but they often don’t convey the full scope of a candidate’s ideals.

    “We have an opportunity to close the achievement gap for some children, and a slogan is not going to fix that problem,’’ said Patton. “We have discussions about prevention of violence, and a slogan is not going to fix that.”

    Meghan E. Irons can be reached at Follower her on Twitter @MeghanIrons.