Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008: The Final Push

by Dante Brunetto

The stakes are high and the Republican and Democratic headquarters in Athens are working full speed ahead to give one last push for Election Day. The two parties have been campaigning tirelessly for months and the day before the election was no different.

The Democratic headquarters was packed with Obama supporters, most of whom are volunteers, picking up fliers and door hangers to post around town in a final effort to get people out to vote for their candidate. The Obama campaign has been around campus for months, registering, informing, and encouraging people to vote.

Obama volunteer Madeline Bassil talks about the
importance of the day before the election.

Meanwhile in the basement of the Republican headquarters, you will find a room full of volunteers making calls to Athens’ residents, encouraging them to vote for McCain. Also at the headquarters was Ohio House of Representatives candidate Jill Thompson, going over campaign strategies with the headquarters’ director. Their efforts have taken a more behind the scenes approach, compared to the Obama campaigners who were on Court Street Monday giving out free pizza.

One passing Ohio University student told Athens MidDay that his vote was still up for grabs. Jacob Wright-Piekarski says he originally was going to vote for Obama until his roommate, a McCain supporter, got him to rethink that decision. “I think I’m going to walk into my polling place and decide on the spot,” says Piekarski.

Despite most polls showing McCain trailing Obama in Ohio, Athens GOP campaign director Lanny Spaulding says they plan to fight until the end. “We are looking for a big finish in Ohio, we've had a strong effort all along and we don't want those efforts to be in vain,” says Spaulding.

Athens Republican Campaign Director Lanny Spaulding
talks about the hard working campaign volunteers in Athens

The Obama campaigners have no plans of letting up either. Obama volunteer Madeline Bassil says her daughter is flying from school in New York home to Ohio, just to cast her vote in the battleground state.

The efforts by both parties in the past months all come down to Election Day. A record number of early voters have already turned out to make their voices heard in this election. Piekarski says when Wednesday rolls around, he will be happy to see Court Street return to normal with the end of the election. “I’ve heard it all and to be honest, I’m starting to find it pretty annoying,” says Piekarski.

Ohio University student Jacob Wright-Piekarski says he
is undecided.

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