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Clinton, Sanders support ramps up at Ohio State ahead of Ohio primary

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Ohio State students phone banking for Hilary Clinton in Smith-Steeb Hall on March 9. Credit: Nick Roll

Ohio State students phone banking for Hilary Clinton in Smith-Steeb Hall on March 9. Credit: Nick Roll

With a Democratic town hall coming to the Mershon Auditorium on Sunday and the Ohio primary on Tuesday, local campaigners for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are plugging away with their on-campus efforts.

Clinton volunteers organized a phone-banking event in the Smith-Steeb Hall on Wednesday evening, in addition to their other Columbus events. Volunteers supporting Sanders phone banked in Hagerty Hall on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Sanders volunteers scheduled a “Get Out The Vote” rally Friday evening at 7 p.m. at The Varsity Club restaurant, and a canvass on Saturday at 1 p.m., with Park-Stradley residence hall listed as the meeting point.

Sarah Lukowski, the Sanders campaign volunteer running the phone bank on Wednesday, said that every call helps campaign efforts.

“The biggest part of a campaign is contacting people and informing them about (the candidate),” said the graduate student in developmental psychology.

Lukowski was a volunteer on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign when she was a graduate student at Ohio State in 2012, but this is her first year leading events for a campaign.

Lukowski, a delegate for Sanders in the Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District, will attend the Democratic National Convention if Sanders gets more than 15 percent of the vote, due to the apportioning process that the Democratic Party uses in elections.

Though the phone banks took place on campus, both camps were contacting voters across Ohio.

“Ohio State just so happens to be the largest university, in the most important city, in the most important state when it comes to politics,” said Spencer Dirrig, a first-year in political science and economics who ran the Clinton phone bank.

Dirrig also volunteered in support of Obama’s reelection in 2012, and is chairman of the Buckeyes for Hillary caucus of OSU College Democrats.

Lukowski emphasized that Ohio State, and college campuses in general, were an important part of the campaign strategy.

“I think Bernie’s message really resonates with students,” Lukowski said, emphasizing the senator’s positions on minimum wage, student debt and social issues.

The Clinton camp echoed her sentiments.

“When it comes to making sure we have a debt free college education … and people who already have student debt can refinance their loans, those are two issues that are important to students,” said Dirrig, expressing his confidence in Clinton to take on those subjects.

Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both have campaign stops in Ohio, but have not announced any official campaign or volunteer events listed at Ohio State as of Friday afternoon.

Kasich is expected to be joined by former OSU football coach and current president of Youngstown State University Jim Tressel in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio do not have any events scheduled in Ohio before the primary, according to their respective websites as of Friday afternoon.

The Democratic town hall forum, which both Clinton and Sanders are confirmed to attend, will be held at the Mershon Auditorium from 8 to 10 p.m. CNN, which is hosting the town hall with TV One, will choose who is admitted to the event through an application process.

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