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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students help candidates’ campaigns

    Michael Sistak knocks on stranger’s doors and hands out brochures.

    He drives around town and stakes down large signs. He calls people on the phone, attends weekly meetings and manages a Web site.

    Like many students, Sistak’s months of effort will come to an end Nov. 7.

    Sistak, webmaster and UA contact for Republican candidate Ron Drake in his congressional District 7 campaign, said he has learned to manage his time better after working on the Drake campaign.

    “”It takes up a fair amount of my time,”” Sistak said.

    Sistak is not alone.

    Another Drake campaign volunteer, Brice Thompson McCoy, a political science sophomore, said he and many of his fellow campaign workers go without sleep in the days before the election.

    “”Seventy-two hours before the election, we prepare for it and don’t really sleep,”” McCoy said. “”I got up at 3 a.m. during the primaries this year to pick up signs, because we didn’t get the shipment in to polling locations.””

    McCoy said the perks of working with politicians go beyond the satisfaction of winning the election.

    “”It’s a good way to meet a lot of interesting people,”” McCoy said. “”I am personally on a first-name basis with Randy Graf.””

    Andre Campos, campaign manager for Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Barry Hess, said students’ help is very important in the campaign.

    A dozen UA students volunteer for Hess’ campaign on various levels,

    depending on the amount of free time they have, Campos said.

    “”It’s great to have students involved,”” Campos said. “”They can network with friends to get the word out.””

    Bryant Conger, a marketing senior, said he is working for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in support of Republican senatorial candidate Jon Kyl.

    Conger, who spent the fall semester of 2004 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, to work on the Bush campaign, said he visits businesses to tout Kyle.

    “”I am taking 18 units right now, so it is a little difficult balancing exams and homework with making sure people know what Kyl has done for Arizona,”” he said.

    Blake Rebling, president of the UA College Republicans and a Kyl volunteer, said his group works hard to promote Republican candidates.

    “”We are primarily a grassroots organization,”” Rebling said. “”We’re the ground soldiers out there making phone calls and campaigning for our Republican candidates.””

    Isaac Hess, Barry Hess’ nephew and a regional development junior, said he has given his uncle full support throughout the campaign.

    “”I’m gonna make signs and T-shirts,”” Isaac Hess said. “”I also want to try to spell out ‘Hess for governor’ on 15 T-shirts.””

    R.T. Gregg, campaign manager of the Randy Graf for Congress Committee, said he is in awe of the work that UA students do for his campaign.

    “”We are so thankful that I can’t begin to explain,”” Gregg said. “”UA students have been an absolute Godsend.””

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Erin Hertzog said ASUA has promoted more face-to-face interaction with candidates to make students realize how important their votes are.

    “”I am impressed with students because they can get the reputation that they are politically apathetic,”” Hertzog said. “”More people are politically active than aren’t, and it’s really great to see.””

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