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USG candidates make final push for votes

Ally Marotti / Copy chief

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The Oval will set the stage for each Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate as the months of hard work and the weeks of little sleep boil down to these final two days of campaigning.

The final days of the campaign have “been crazy hectic,” said Taylor Stepp, a presidential candidate and second-year in Russian and public affairs. “It’s really getting into crunch time. It’s really getting to a point where months and months of hard work is culminating into two days.”

USG elections begin on Thursday, and continue through Friday.

There are three stages of the campaign, Stepp said, and the basis of the pre-campaign period is about talking to people.

“The first week-and-a-half is more about reaching voters, talking to people, getting your name out there, getting the buzz created,” Stepp said. “And then these two days, is all kind of like building up to this climax of saying, ‘Hey, we have two days to make a difference. Everything that we’ve done won’t be worth anything if we don’t come to play for these two days.’ And that’s what’s really hard about it because you have to face everyday like a battle. You’ve got to keep the troops motivated.”

Kyle Strickland, another presidential candidate and third-year in political science, said enthusiasm within the campaign is key.

“You’ve got to be fired up and you’ve got to be excited about winning this thing,” Strickland said. “We’re getting volunteers, coordinating volunteers, getting them ready for Thursday and Friday and making sure they’re not too burned out from the first week or so.”

Stepp said he is also trying to maintain high energy within his campaign.

“We’ve got a lot of people that are really excited about doing stuff,” Stepp said. “But there are some people that haven’t been as excited, and we need to make sure they come to play because this is a huge operation.”

Each presidential candidate said getting students out to vote is the top priority during the final stretch.

Presidential candidate Travis Skaggs, a second-year in economics, likened his campaign’s strategy to coordinating a Facebook event.

“You can’t just invite people to a page or invite them to an event. You actually have to message them one-on-one,” Skaggs said. “You have to be texting your friends, calling. You have to be saying, ‘Vote now.’ The personal message goes a long way.”

The Niraj and Nikki campaign has taken its message to students who might not already be involved in the election process.

“You sort of have what I call the involved kids – the kids who hang out in the Center for Student Leadership and Service (in the Ohio Union),” said Niraj Antani, presidential candidate and third-year in political science and philosophy. “And there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s great to be involved.

“But that being said, student government needs to be more than just about those students,” Antani said. “We think that politically, that’s how we win. But also, in regards to our message, that’s what student government should be about.”

The Taylor and Kevin campaign also has a strategy to reach students who avoid the campaign tents on the Oval.

“It’s called the mobile Oval and essentially what we’ll do is … send (campaign volunteers) out to specific spots and they can flier, talk to people,” Stepp said.

Skaggs has a different strategy for reaching students who avoid the campaigns on the Oval.

“Stand on both sides; they can’t avoid you,” Skagg said. “But I guess you entice them in certain ways.”

Each of the four campaigns will try to entice students during the final days by stepping up the freebies they pass out on the Oval and around campus.

The Niraj and Nikki campaign began passing out sunglasses and pens Wednesday and will continue to do so through Friday, Antani said.

“I think it will be nice strategically to hand someone a sunglass and be like, ‘Hey, go vote,'” Antani said.

Likewise, the Taylor and Kevin campaign has “very heavily allocated (resources) for these two days,” Stepp said.

“We’re hoping if the weather gets a little bit nicer we can have freeze pops too and draw some people’s attention to us and actually serve them a little bit, give them something they want instead of just a piece of paper they’re probably going to throw away,” Stepp said.

The Travis and Danielle campaign will not only pass out drawstring athletic bags and stadium cups, but it will also bring the OSU Freestyle Rap and Beatbox Club, which sponsors the campaign, to the Oval, said Jenna Mackey, adviser to the Travis and Danielle campaign and a second-year in accounting.

“They’re going to do freestyle rap and beatbox based on topics given to them from bystanders. So they’ll rap a little bit about the campaign and the platform,” Mackey said.

The Kyle and Nick campaign wasn’t as forthcoming as the other three campaigns about what it has planned for the end.

“No teasing,” Strickland said. “Just be on the lookout. We’re a Lego campaign. Building the Buckeye community is what we’re all about. So if we have any surprises, I’m sure they’ll have to do with that.”

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