Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

What does the future hold for Auckland mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick?

She came from nowhere. Now, some believe, she can go anywhere.

Chloe Swarbrick isn't Auckland's new mayor.

But, after finishing third, does the marketing consultancy businessowner have a brighter future than our new mayor Phil Goff.

Maybe.

The 22-year-old initially struggled to get people to take her seriously when she launched her bold campaign to be Auckland's new mayor three months ago.

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Interest was almost solely limited to her youth.

That began to change last month.

She impressed with an appearance on political show Q + A. Youth-led organisation Generation Zero gave her an A- grade in its election candidates' scorecard.

And her social media profile, tended solely by her and the platform by which her low-budget campaign (she had spent just $9000 by yesterday) spread her message, particularly to the untapped youth vote.

She has said herself her campaign would not have been possible before the arrival of social media, which she described as "a direct line to me".

A Spinoff online poll three weeks ago pegged her support at five per cent, one per cent behind third placed rival John Palino and six per cent behind the woman seen as Goff's main contender, Vic Crone.

'I'm not going to disappear'

Speaking yesterday, Swarbrick said she was focused on the mayoral race and didn't have a plan B.

Except that, win or lose, she had no plans to disappear from the public eye.

"[My campaign] was to get Aucklanders to really see themselves as stakeholders in their future. I will continue to work for Auckland and the betterment of our society."

She was coy about any offers she had received, but said she had been approached by more than one political party. She would not name them.

Otago University lecturer in politics Bryce Edwards said Swarbrick was on the left and he expected the Greens and Labour had shown interest.

Leaders of both parties said they had not made offers to Swarbrick, but were impressed by her campaign.

Greens co-leader James Shaw described Swarbrick's campaign as "phenomenal".

"I'm extremely impressed with her and I've told her that."

Labour leader Andrew Little said Swarbrick's campaign was "impressive".

"I'd be keen to catch up with her afterwards."

'She's someone to watch'

Edwards said Swarbrick's rise was due to a mixture of her "talent and chutzpah", social media, and society's increasing acceptance of candidates without a political track record.

Political commentator Chris Trotter had compared Swarbrick to a young Helen Clark, and he agreed, Edwards said.

"This has put her on the map. She's someone to watch."

Trotter said it was Swarbrick's appearance on Q + A that caught his eye.

"She did remind me of a young Helen Clark, who was equally poised and confident."

But her success depended on a second or third place finish today, Trotter said.

That would show she had "crossover appeal" and gained support beyond millennials to older voters, who may be inclined to vote for Swarbrick either as a protest vote or to encourage her rise, he said.

"Any improvement on her fourth place [polling] will be a spectacular result ... that really would indicate she has a future in politics."

THE RESULTS

• Phil Goff - 179206
• Vic Crone - 105413
• Chloe Swarbrick - 26474
• John Palino - 21398
• Mark Thomas - 9170
• Penny Bright - 6577
• David Hay - 2747

- NZ Herald

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