Students get a taste of Dayton’s

Coralie Carlson

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton added Coffman Union Plaza to his list of campaign stops Wednesday.
The underdog Democrat and his troop of student staffers vied for University votes by peddling pizza and offering campaign literature to passers-by.
Ten University students work on Dayton’s campaign as field interns, making up half of the paid staff members.
The schoolmates banded together and formed Students for Mark Dayton. The group organizes campus voter registration drives and campaign events, including Wednesday’s pizza stint.
“These are just students that got involved and really believed in Mark Dayton and want to spread the word,” said Ben Butler, College of Liberal Arts senior and president of Students for Mark Dayton.
The Dayton team also recruited other interested students for its group.
“I don’t think that politics should be something done by older generations because we’re the ones that will have to deal with the consequences of their actions,” said Kjersten Reich, College of Liberal Arts junior.
While many students dined on pizza and stopped to talk politics with Dayton, not everyone was impressed.
“I think this is a really pathetic plan to get people to vote,” said Andy Carlson, junior in the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences.
Even the candidate said he hoped the event would have looked more like a picnic than a campaign booth.
Dayton, who pledged to dedicate state surplus funds to higher education, trails in the latest polls, holding on to 3 percent of Democratic voters. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman leads with 48 percent, followed by Attorney General Hubert H. Humphrey III at 35 percent.
“I feel like an unwanted item at a Dayton’s clearance sale,” Dayton said. “Every time I turn around I’m being marked down again.”
The former state auditor said he is not contending for his party’s endorsement at the Democratic State Convention in June. Instead, Dayton set his sights on the September primary.
Freeman is the only Democratic candidate that promised to respect the party’s endorsement. The rest plan on running in the primary regardless of the state convention’s outcome.