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Council Hopefuls Mobilize Their Campaigns as Elections Approach

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Earlier this week, Undergraduate Council presidential candidate Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98 tried to speak against overzealous campaigns by setting up table tents spouting the slogan: "This is the U.C., not the U.S. Senate."

His advice seems to have been ignored, at least by other candidates.

In preparation for next week's campus-wide council elections, many candidates are organizing huge campaign staffs, complete with influential "inner circles," crafty spin doctors and sneaky opposition research teams.

White House Advisors

Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 and Michael A. O'Mary '99 have put together a team of savvy political advisers.

Institute of Politics chair Avery W. Gardiner '97 is their press liaison, council finance chair Steven E. Weinberg '99 is campaign treasurer, and Brady G.S. Case '97--who once managed a Harvard graphic design group--is chipping in free labor as a publicity designer.

But Rawlins and O'Mary are reaching into the depths of the Democratic National Committee, too.

Some observers were wondering why David Wilhelm showed up at a strategy session for Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 and Michael A. O'Mary '99 last Monday.

Wilhelm, after all, helped manage President Clinton's campaign in 1992 and formerly served as chair of the Democratic National Committee.

O'Mary downplayed the celebrity's appearance, saying: "[Wilhelm] is not involved in our campaign in any way, shape, or form. He was personally curious about campaign dynamics and electronic means of campaigning, [the uses of] e-mail [and the] web page. It was more a joke than anything."

Eric M. Nelson '99 and Joseph A. Sena '99 are sticking with undergraduates, though they've assembled quite a team.

Nelson and Sena, who are both Crimson editors, regularly brainstorm with former council vice-president Brian A. Blais '97, and current Campus Life Committee co-chair Tally Zingher'99.

Nelson insists their organization is laid-back, despite its forceful presence.

"We all brainstorm [and] we have people in each house who put up posters," he said. "We [all] like each other and have put in an amazing amount of work."

They make organized poster runs and mass e-mail lists. Nelson says his staff is a blessing.

"[We] are fortunate enough to have a large number of U.C. and non-U.C. members who feel strongly about our candidacy," he said.

Some candidates, however, are eschewing large campaign staffs, relying on their hard work alone.

Fresh from postering in the Quad, Kaplan said he wants to get his ideas before the people.

"[My] only strategy is...pointing out ideas that other people don't have," Kaplan said. "[I hope to] turn the election from a popularity contest to an issue-based one."

Digging Up Dirt

This is the 1990s. Candidates go negative. They uncover each other's weaknesses. And they exploit them.

Gardiner assists Rawlins by turning in Rawlins's opponents who violate guidelines established by the Election Commission.

Earlier this week, Gardiner alerted the commission of illegal signs placed in dining halls by Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98.

It was Gardiner who alerted the commission to Kaplan's illegal tents. He was admonished and slapped with a five-percent fine, which reduced his effective campaign treasury to $95.

It's been a busy election for the Election Commission. They received reports of eight postering violations on the first major day of campaigning alone.

Discipline included warnings, rule alterations and postering restrictions.

Rawlins said Gardiner also suggested disseminating voters guides, outlining candidates' stances on issues including PBHA funding, banning ROTC from campus and hiking council grants to student groups.

Rawlins nixed the idea, saying she thought it might precipitate a mudslinging contest. "I want to stay aboveboard."

Mawi Asgedom '99 agrees. The vice-presidential candidate said he's mostly campaigning with his friends.

"We don't really have any formal titles [to our campaign staff], he said. "We have [only] a group of friends that we get to help."

And then there's William P. Pyonteck '00, who has yet to do any campaigning. Pyonteck scoffs at the idea of campaign machinery or strategy.

He said he's counting on a quiet but sure comeback to carry him over the top.

"Kind of like Harry Truman," he said

They make organized poster runs and mass e-mail lists. Nelson says his staff is a blessing.

"[We] are fortunate enough to have a large number of U.C. and non-U.C. members who feel strongly about our candidacy," he said.

Some candidates, however, are eschewing large campaign staffs, relying on their hard work alone.

Fresh from postering in the Quad, Kaplan said he wants to get his ideas before the people.

"[My] only strategy is...pointing out ideas that other people don't have," Kaplan said. "[I hope to] turn the election from a popularity contest to an issue-based one."

Digging Up Dirt

This is the 1990s. Candidates go negative. They uncover each other's weaknesses. And they exploit them.

Gardiner assists Rawlins by turning in Rawlins's opponents who violate guidelines established by the Election Commission.

Earlier this week, Gardiner alerted the commission of illegal signs placed in dining halls by Benjamin R. Kaplan '99-'98.

It was Gardiner who alerted the commission to Kaplan's illegal tents. He was admonished and slapped with a five-percent fine, which reduced his effective campaign treasury to $95.

It's been a busy election for the Election Commission. They received reports of eight postering violations on the first major day of campaigning alone.

Discipline included warnings, rule alterations and postering restrictions.

Rawlins said Gardiner also suggested disseminating voters guides, outlining candidates' stances on issues including PBHA funding, banning ROTC from campus and hiking council grants to student groups.

Rawlins nixed the idea, saying she thought it might precipitate a mudslinging contest. "I want to stay aboveboard."

Mawi Asgedom '99 agrees. The vice-presidential candidate said he's mostly campaigning with his friends.

"We don't really have any formal titles [to our campaign staff], he said. "We have [only] a group of friends that we get to help."

And then there's William P. Pyonteck '00, who has yet to do any campaigning. Pyonteck scoffs at the idea of campaign machinery or strategy.

He said he's counting on a quiet but sure comeback to carry him over the top.

"Kind of like Harry Truman," he said

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