Race for Red Square Ends in 11 Minutes
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 02:02
As snow blanketed Georgetown on Wednesday night, candidates for the 2014 Georgetown University Student Association executive election and their respective staffs waited in Red Square for the clock to strike 12, signaling the official beginning of the campaign season.
While around 30 candidates, campaign staffers and onlookers were present in Red Square on Wednesday, each team experienced difficulty taping their banners to the brick walls of the archway because of the cold and the effects of precipitation.
After 11 minutes, all parties agreed to give up and try again the next day.
Candidates for the 2014 election have been unofficially known to the public for several days, as the GUSA Election Commission mandates attendance at information sessions for all prospective candidates.
However, Feb. 13 marked the official commencement of the campaign period, during which candidates and staffers are allowed to knock on doors, table in Red Square, hang advertisements, speak to the media and hold other promotional events. The election itself will be held online Feb. 27.
Supporters of Ben Weiss (COL ’15) and Sam Greco (SFS ’15) arrived in Red Square well before midnight, claiming a spot on the Intercultural Center wall facing outward into Red Square for their promotional materials. Around 10 campaign staffers came to assist with the process, including prominent College Republicansmembers such as chair Patrick Musgrave (COL ’16). Although Weiss is an active Democrat, Greco has extensive experience with the College Republicans.
Weiss noted that although the snow was making the first night of campaigning difficult, he was optimistic for his team’s prospects in the contest.
“We’re going to try and proceed as usual,” Weiss said. “We’ve got a great team of seasoned campaigners, so we know exactly what needs to be done.”
Dan Silkman (COL ’15), who is running for vice president alongside presidential hopeful Zach Singer (SFS ’15), also arrived well before midnight to stake out a spot in Red Square.
“It’s been so far, so good, but I guess we got here much earlier than necessary,” Silkman said. Singer was not present at the kickoff, as he was attending a campaign event in Alumni Square.
GUSA election procedure stipulates that campaign teams are to have no direct interaction with the media prior to 12 a.m. Thursday. However, Singer and Silkman’s campaign manager, Megan Murday (SFS ’15), released a media packet, embargoed until midnight, to campus press organizations at 11:02 p.m. Wednesday night. The packet described the candidates’ backgrounds, positions on key issues and budgetary proposal.
Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) and Jimmy Ramirez (COL ’15), running for president and vice president, respectively, were both present in Red Square. Ramirez noted the difficulties his team, as well as all of those present during the snowstorm, were facing trying to hang their signs.
“It looks like we’re going to have to play it by ear and hopefully not get snowed in,” Ramirez said.
Although Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) and Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15) were not present in Red Square to the walkway leading to the Leavey Center, opposite where the Singer-Silkman and Lloyd-Ramirez teams were attempting to hang theirs. Many of these individuals were members of the College Democrats, for which Tezel served as president, including Joe Laposata (COL ’16) and Bethan Saunders (SFS ’17). KC Crewdson (SFS ’15), an events coordinator for the Tezel-Jikaria campaign, had offered the use of the team’s ladder to any team that needed it at the start of the night.
“I think this is hysterical,” Weiss said, after the truce was called. “Honestly, campaigning is so much fun, crazy stuff happens and I’m sure this won’t be the last thing like this.”
Silkman felt confident that his staff would complete the task once the weather allowed it.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’ll give it another stab at it tomorrow, whenever the snow stops or it gets warmer,” Silkman said.
Although they could not make it to Red Square, Tezel and Jikaria have been planning different types of advertising, including setting up a table on the second floor of Lauinger Library, knocking on doors and posting flyers inside buildings, as is common for GUSA candidates.
“I’m really excited for it to get going,” Tezel said. “It was a whirlwind of activity right at midnight, and that carried over into today.”
By Thursday evening, after the snow had turned to a light rain, all four teams had managed to hang their banners.