Campaign managers stay busy in uncontested elections


CW / Hannah Saad

Connor Todd | @ce_todd, Contributing Writer

The official campaign period began at 8 a.m. on Monday morning, Feb. 24, and will last until election day.

In the days leading up to the March 3 Student Government Association (SGA) elections, candidates and their teams have stayed busy campaigning, laying out their platforms and reaching out to the peers that elect them.  However, the candidates’ campaign strategies look a little different this year due to a lack of opposition.    

In this year’s election, only two SGA Senate races are contested. In the School of Social Work, there are three candidates running for the two available seats. Likewise, in the College of Education, four candidates are vying for the two available seats. Every other college either has candidates running unopposed or does not have enough students running for the available seats, which will mean vacancies in their Senate. 

With multiple uncontested races allowing unencumbered paths to victory, candidates have used the week-long period of official campaigning to broadcast their platforms online and on-campus without worrying about defense strategies.

Each candidate typically has a team of volunteers to assist with campaign logistics–running events, giving out koozies and making sure that everybody has their candidate’s button.  At the head of all of this is a campaign manager.

Jason Rothfarb, Executive Vice President

Managing the campaign of Jason Rothfarb, who is running uncontested for executive vice president, is Catherine Crowe, a sophomore studying political science and art history. As a first-time campaign manager, she says she has been working closely with Rothfarb to reach out to students.

“I’d say that our way of communicating Jason’s platform is primarily through social media posts,” Crowe said. “We do go and speak to organizations on campus, and on election day we campaign on the Quad. We pass out what we are allowed to and make sure people are aware of the platforms.”

Social media is a key tool for SGA campaigns. Crowe said that every morning of the campaign period, there are new social-media posts to review and post.  Crowe primarily uses Facebook and Instagram–Instagram, she said, tends to reach more people, but Facebook is easier to access as a central hub for all of the campaign information.

Daniel Perkins, Vice President of Financial Affairs

Lucia Laux, a junior majoring in communication studies and criminal justice, is managing the campaign of Daniel Perkins, who is running unopposed for vice president of financial affairs. The organization element of campaign management is one of the most important ones for Laux, who heavily relies on planning and calendar design to create a successful campaign.

“[Campaign management] keeps me busy,” Laux said. “I like working with the team. I’m a highly organized person, so I think that maintaining a calendar and managing a campaign in such a short period of time is a strong suit for me and certainly a skillset that I enjoy using.”

Laux’s duties involve organizing with the campaign team and ensuring that their campaign is in compliance with the rules in the SGA’s election manual. Laux also participates in the refining and framing of the candidate’s platform. Laux keeps a strict eye on deadlines and helps the candidate schedule speaking engagements and manage his outreach.

Laux has said that her campaign is relying on a heavy mixture of online presence and merchandise. On the campaign’s designs, Laux said that they are trying to use “bright colors and attention-grabbing social media posts.” The team also relies on merchandise and face-to-face interactions with potential voters.

“I think that reaching people on Instagram reaches a wider audience, but handing out buttons and meeting potential voters face-to-face makes a more lasting impression,” Laux said. “We want people to remember his name easily on election day.”

Demarcus Joiner, SGA President

Demarcus Joiner, campaigning for SGA president, is also running uncontested. A president has not run uncontested since 2013. Co-managing the Joiner campaign is Logan O’Leary, a senior majoring in marketing and finance, and Morgan Ross, a junior majoring in biology.

According to O’Leary, running uncontested hasn’t discouraged them from campaigning hard.  He said that they use draws like food, music and car-painting to engage the student body. 

“Instead of just having pictures of the Quad, we will have donuts too just to get people out there and engage with [Joiner],” O’Leary said.

The short campaign period is a busy time for campaign managers and their teams.  Even with most of the planning done ahead of time, campaigns still run into obstacles. 

“You have to be adaptable for this job,” O’Leary said.  “We were supposed to have an event in the Ferg, and we weren’t able to do that so we had to find a new event, make a graphic for it and get the word out about it in just a day.”

Joiner’s path toward the presidency seems clear, running unopposed. According to his campaign managers, that has affected the direction of his campaign’s strategy by allowing them to ease away from defense and focus instead on Joiner.  There is one thing O’Leary is sure will be unavoidable, though and that’s that Nick Saban will make several appearances in the write-in votes.