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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ASUA not discouraged by forum attendance

Brittney Smith
Cecilia Alvarez / The Daily Wildcat Issac Ortega and Morgan Abraham for 2014 Commenement

The kick-off event to the “Our Voice, Our Vote” campaign didn’t draw in many students, but the Associated Students of the University of Arizona is confident that the campaign has more potential.

The gubernatorial candidate forum on Sunday brought in a little over 100 people to the 2,500 person capacity Centennial Hall, according to Issac Ortega, ASUA president. Ortega said while ASUA was expecting more people, the forum’s venue size made it look like many people attended the debate.

Ortega also said that this is only the first event to the campaign and they still have more events scheduled for the rest of the fall semester. He said the turnout of the gubernatorial candidate forum was not indicative of the future of the campaign.

“I personally don’t think so just because there’s so much left of the campaign,” Ortega said.

Ortega also said he is confident that despite the low attendance, the forum will still reach out to larger audience. According to Ortega, the online streaming numbers for the forum were high, and the debate will be broadcasted throughout the week by Arizona Public Media to more than 50,000 residences.

“I’m pretty optimistic that this will reach a lot more people,” Ortega said.

ASUA presidential chief of staff Hannah Sager said the important thing to understand is that the candidate forum will be broadcasted.

“While we were hoping for more people to show up to the forum, it will be broadcasted,” Sager said.

According to Ortega, there were several factors that contributed to the turnout of the event, including the live-streaming option and Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey’s absence.

“There’s no doubt there was a missing piece to the whole debate,” Ortega said. “We were missing one candidate of a major party.”
Ortega said students told him they wanted to see two major political parties discuss issues and Sunday’s forum didn’t have that.

Barry Hess, the Libertarian candidate for governor, said in an email statement that he thought the gubernatorial candidate forum was successful.

“I can honestly say [it] was the best-run and most thoughtful of such events I can remember,” Hess said in the email.

Ortega said the next event for the “Our Voice, Our Vote” campaign is the free welcome back concert with Aloe Blacc, Tyler Ward and Luna Aura. According to Sager, students will have the opportunity to sign up for voter registration at the concert.

“Traditionally, free concerts have been amazing,” Sager said in regard to the anticipation of the turnout at the “Our Voice, Our Vote” campaign’s next event.

Sager said ASUA’s main goal is to get students to vote in the gubernatorial election. Sager said it’s important for students to make decisions about education, which is a pivotal focus in this year’s election.

“As long as the opportunity’s there for people to get civically engaged, at the end of the day, that’s the main message,” Ortega said.

— Adriana Espinosa contributed to reporting to this article

Follow Meghan Fernandez on Twitter @MeghanFernandez

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