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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Students campaign for upcoming elections

Erich Healy
Erich Healy/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Tim Goddard speaks at a rally held on the UA Mall October 4th.

Students spend anywhere from a few hours of volunteer work to 40 hours a week campaigning for the upcoming elections on Nov. 2.

Mihai Samartinean, a senior majoring in philosophy and history, is an intern for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard. He said he was not particularly politically aware before starting the internship this summer.

“”I really wasn’t,”” Samartinean said. “”I voted for Obama. That was the extent of my political career before this.””

Samartinean was looking for an extracurricular activity in which he could earn school credit. He heard about the opportunity through an email and researched Goddard’s platform.

“”I didn’t think I could work for someone who didn’t have my same ideology,”” Samartinean said.

Samartinean now spends 10 to 15 hours a week organizing events and making phone calls.

“”Pretty much anything that needs to be done with the campaign, we’re there,”” Samartinean said.

Other students join campaigns because they are passionate about the stances of a politician or party.

Trey Terry, a political science freshman and the communications director for the University of Arizona College Republicans, searched for a way to join the campaign of Jesse Kelly, Republican candidate in Arizona’s Congressional District 8.

“”I sought him out,”” Terry said. “”After I got out of the military, I followed the campaign.””

Terry said he previously helped with other political campaigns but has a strong interest in Kelly’s platforms.

“”For most candidates, there tend to be one or two issues you disagree with,”” Terry said. “”With Jesse, I have yet to find that.””

Terry has volunteered for the campaign since February and said he puts in between 30 to 40 hours a week making phone calls and visiting voters door-to-door, among other activities. He said he is also motivated to help the Republican Party.

“”My goal right now is to get as many conservatives elected as possible. All 435 seats in Congress are up this year,”” Terry said. “”Why not start at home?””

Linguistics sophomore Andrew Ziesig is employed by the campaign for Kent Solberg, a Green Party candidate for state Legislature. Ziesig said he works on the campaign between 10 and 20 hours each week.

“”Right now, we’re trying to raise awareness,”” Ziesig said.

Ziesig said he worked with the Green Party in New York and wanted to continue in Tucson.

“”I saw that the Green Party here needed help,”” Ziesig said.

Ziesig said he campaigns for Solberg in his district, which does not encompass the UA campus. He tries to inform students about the party’s goals.

“”I try to promote the Green Party more widely,”” Ziesig said.

The students said their campaign work finds its way into everyday life.

“”It does blend, especially with social networking,”” said Samartinean, who posts Facebook statuses about campaign events. “”You’re more excited, so you bring it up in conversation. I never would have brought it up in conversation before.””

John Ellinwood, director of communications for the Kelly campaign, said campaigns benefits from tech-savvy students.

“”The mobile technology — photos, Twitter — that’d be the biggest thing,”” Ellinwood said.

He said college students help with tasks like taking and uploading pictures of an event.

“”That’s probably a younger volunteer,”” Ellinwood said.

Ellinwood said campaign work also benefits students by providing insight into the political process. Both Terry and Samartinean said they have considered politics as possible career paths.

“”This did help. Getting an inside view of it has been really good,”” Samartinean said.

For some students, interning at a campaign has led to paid positions.

Samantha Frisby, outreach coordinator for the Goddard for Governor campaign in Southern Arizona, is taking a semester off from the UA to work on the campaign. Frisby said her work on other campaigns provided valuable networking opportunities.

“”Now I have a job on the campaign,”” Frisby said.

Samartinean said he benefited from his internship even if he does not continue in politics afterward.

“”You do get politically involved, which is important,”” Samartinean said. “”I definitely will stay more connected.””


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