Students campaign in swing state of Ohio

Cameron Koch

WKU Democrats and Republicans alike will be traveling to Ohio this weekend to aid their respective candidates in the “battleground” state.

Political science students — eight Republicans and eight Democrats — will be traveling to Cincinnati to work out of Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s campaign offices there as part of a campaign management class.

Ohio is one of the largest political swing states, worth 18 electoral votes in the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Saundra Ardrey, political science department head, teaches the class.

“We are going to one of the counties that may decide the whole election,” Ardrey said. “Where that county goes, then there goes Ohio.”

A Republican donor is paying for the hotel Republican workers are staying in, while Democratic workers are staying in volunteer homes for the weekend.

“It’s a 72-hour push in all the battleground states,” Ardrey said. “There will be delegations of students from all over the country in the battleground states.”

Louisville graduate student Tim Gilliam is helping organize the trip. 

“It’s going to to be a valuable opportunity and experience to go to Ohio — which is really the ground zero of this election — and work for our respective candidates,” Gilliam said. “It’s important to be involved. So often our generation is ignored when it comes to the political process.”

Gilliam said the student workers will be traveling door-to-door and making phone calls to help increase the influence of both candidates in the highly contested state.

Bowling Green senior Poorvie Patel is traveling with the group. Patel said Ohio is the most important state in the election in her opinion.

“The person who wins Ohio will win the election,” Patel said.

Patel stressed the importance of getting young people involved in the political process and said historically young people vote in much lower numbers than other voter demographics. 

“We definitely need to be involved in the decision making process now because it’s going to be influencing our lives for the next 10 to 15 years,” she said.

Gilliam hopes all the students on the trip gain insight into how elections are won and lost by seeing what it means to take part in the campaign firsthand.

“To be on the ground in these states and show that there are young people who do care about the election, I think that’s important,” Gilliam said. “It’s a valuable learning experience to be up close and personal with what’s going as opposed to just watching it on CNN or Fox News.”