The more than 90 candidates running for Michigan Student Assembly know that name recognition is key to winning next Wednesday and Thursday”s election.
Traditionally, almost all candidates chalk sidewalks and buildings. The Michigan Party, which began chalking well before break, specializes in this campaign tactic. Their large logo that appeared on the Diag Sunday took 6 hours to make.
“It was sort of a team-building exercise,” said Michigan Party presidential candidate Doug Tietz.
Candidates also go door-to-door to reach students. Most candidates said this is a necessary component to campaigning.
“The most important tactic is one-on-one interaction,” said Blue Party vice-presidential candidate Jessica Cash. “There”s nothing to replace talking to someone.”
“I always ask people what they want to have changed on campus,” said Blue Party presidential candidate Matt Nolan.
MSA has focused on the controversy of door-to-door campaigning in recent meetings. This year University Housing set a curfew of 10 p.m. for candidates campaigning in residence halls.
Candidates found campaigning after 10 will receive three demerits from MSA, with five demerits resulting in removal from the election.
Although there have been University Housing regulations regarding campaigning in the residence halls in past years, up until this year candidates received no punishment from MSA for infringement of University Housing rules.
Large banners on the Diag coupled with chalk add up to a hefty price. Some student political parties have a monetary advantage because of their groups” structures, but others are not so fortunate.
“We”re competing against other groups that are really structured,” said Alicia Johnson, vice-presidential candidate for the University Democratic Party. “Our money comes out of our pocket and from supportive friends.”
“Other parties are outspending us,” said Tietz. “We make up for how we”ve been outspent by them through groundwork, by going door to door.”
Students in residence halls know that campaign season is not the only time people are soliciting their doors.
“We campaign year-round,” said Defend Affirmative Action Party vice-presidential candidate Jessica Curtin.
Erika Dowdell, DAAP”s presidential candidate, added that in campaigning, manual labor is more important than money.
“We don”t have any gimmicks,” Dowdell said. “We”re a lot more straightforward. People take us more seriously because of that.”
Candidates will see if their efforts paid off when students go to the polls March 21 and 22.