Minnesota Student Association presidential candidates said they took pride in running campaigns the right way – with strong word-of-mouth support.
Many said their dogged campaigning helped generate this year’s all-campus elections’ 1,300 voter increase.
MSA President-elect Tom Zearley said he got up at 4:30 a.m. every day last week to put up posters and chalk sidewalks with supporters’ help.
Ashley Sierra, who lost to Zearley by 77 votes, said her campaign reached out to students usually ignored during campus elections.
“We were out at 7 a.m. in the Huron parking lots talking to commuter students,” she said. “We also went door to door in the Como and Dinkytown neighborhoods.”
For all their campaigning leading up to the elections, most candidates said they worked hardest during the two election days last week.
Vice presidential candidate Betsy Raguse, who ran with Thomas Rupp, said she campaigned from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
She said she and her campaign manager hit the streets with a radio and poster board.
“We sometimes rapped along with the music with our platform,” she said.
Even then, she said, she could not help feeling the effort was not enough.
“When I got home at night and was doing my homework, I kept thinking I could be doing something to reach out to the people,” she said.
Controversy surrounded Jason Will’s last-minute push for the presidency.
His campaign set up inflatable carnival-like attractions on Northrop Plaza, drawing criticisms from other candidates and some students.
“I thought it was too commercialized,” said Surya Sukumar, Asian-American Student Union president. “They lost my vote when they did that.”
Presidential candidate Brian Adamovich said he was pleased Will finished second-to-last.
“I’m glad he finished sixth,” he said. “It proves that you can’t buy votes.”
Andrea Bader, Will’s running mate, said their platform was to get students involved and their rally on Northrop Plaza accomplished that.
“So many students came up who had no idea what MSA was, and we got the chance to talk to people,” she said. “(MSA) has wonderful ideas, but a lot of those students don’t know (about) them.”
Presidential candidate Mike May said the Will-Bader campaign helped raise awareness, because the rally was an over-the-top spectacle.
“In hindsight, I think it hurt them more than it helped them,” May said. “I give them credit for getting their name out there and definitely making their campaign and election more visible.”
Presidential candidate Bob Gindorff said his campaign was successful because it helped set an agenda for the election.
He said student safety and Student Services Fees became focal points after his platform made them a priority.
Gindorff and other candidates offered Zearley advice.
Gindorff said he hopes Zearley does not ignore that students are upset about high fees when funding the late-night bus program.
Raguse said Zearley’s narrow win should serve as a warning.
“Sierra-Montana ran on turning around MSA, and they lost by only 77 votes,” she said. “I think that proves that MSA is not representing the entire student body, and I hope Tom Zearley works hard to change that.”