With the May 18 Democratic primary election less than a month away and a close race between U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and incumbent U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, student groups are starting to shift campaign efforts off campus.
According to Rasmussen Reports, this month’s polls showed 44 percent of voters in favor of Specter and 42 percent supporting Sestak. The race has tightened since last month’s 48 percent and 37 percent, respectively.
Calling it a “statistical tie,” Students for Sestak Philadelphia Student Coordinator and College sophomore Ted Koutsoubas remains hopeful.
“In the coming weeks, we’ll see more shift to Sestak in the race because he’s a liberal Democrat,” he said.
Though both Students for Specter and Students for Sestak have been campaigning throughout campus in recent months, they have decided to focus their attention outward as well.
“We figured instead of canvassing here while everyone is in the library studying, we’d go out canvassing in West Philadelphia,” said Koutsoubas, a former Daily Pennsylvanian photo manager. He added that students who are excited about the election are already involved in student political groups.
Over the past week, Students for Sestak has been distributing flyers, buttons and stickers to community members. According to Koutsoubas, the group “talked to more than 2,000 voters in West Philly, not including students.”
Students for Specter President and College freshman Graham White, however, provided a different reason for canvassing throughout West Philadelphia.
“We’re … taking an approach beyond the student body because students aren’t really focused on the election,” White said.
Students for Specter has been and will continue canvassing, especially before the debate between the two candidates, which is set to take place in Philadelphia on May 1. Additionally, the group has helped register voters and inform them about absentee ballots.
Both groups have maintained focus on raising awareness among students, despite a low expected turnout on May 18 — after many students have left campus.
“If the primary was this week or next week, … hundreds more students would turn out to vote,” Koutsoubas said, “but given the situation, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of turnout.”
White agreed. “It’s definitely unfortunate for the student groups because we’ve been working hard over the last couple of months.”Comments powered by Disqus
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