Mitt Romney may have lost the presidential election on Nov. 6, but it wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of more than 70 students from Hillsdale College campaigning for the GOP candidate in Ohio last weekend.
The College Republicans and volunteers for the Madison Action Fund, a super PAC, campaigned in hope of drawing Republicans to the polls in Findlay, Ohio, for the presidential election on Nov. 6.
On the night of Nov. 2, Hillsdale campaigners arrived at the Comfort Inn where the group was briefed on what they would be doing that weekend. They then broke off, split into car groups, and were sent off to bed.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the groups from Madison Action Fund went door-to-door in groups of two, encouraging right-leaning independent and conservative voters to get to the polls before Tuesday evening.
To promote some friendly competition, the group broke up into two teams, Team Romney and Team Ryan. The team that made the most contacts would receive customized T‑shirts after the campaign weekend. At press time, the winning team was undetermined.
Sophomore Dakota Michael, a Team Ryan member, said that the goal was not to convince registered voters who to vote for, but to encourage them to vote in the election.
Campaigners were given a tablet equipped with an application that determined the door-to-door route based on a gravity score that reflected the voting history registered voters.
“We went to specific houses,” said team Ryan member sophomore Sara Chojnacki. “It wasn’t actually door-to-door.”
The gravity score is set from a range of 12 to ‑12: 12 being a registered Republican that consistently voted in the past, ‑12 being a consistently voting Democrat. Partners Michael and Chojnacki said they never contacted any registered voters lower than a ‑2.
Sophomore Nathan Brand, who campaigned on behalf of MAF, had a relatively uneventful route until his last door on Sunday night. The house was listed as having a high gravity score.
Before Brand could finish his pitch, the man interrupted, voicing his irritation that he was missing the football game to listen to someone advocate a government that is stealing his money.
“He said that he would rise against the government if he could and began to list conspiracy theories,” Brand said. “It turned out his wife was the one with the high gravity score.”
On Saturday at 6 p.m., the teams regrouped to begin a night of making phone calls. After being on the receiving end of multiple flustered hang-ups and irritated conversations, the group went to bed to begin another round of door-to-door visits the next morning.
The 47 students that campaigned with the College Republicans made more than 8,300 contacts through door-to-door visits and phone calls, while the 30 students with MAF made an additional 8,000-plus contacts.
Although Romney did not clinch Ohio in the national election, president of the College Republicans, junior Maxwell Kleber, said that the hard work did not go to waste.
The College Republicans spent the majority of their time campaigning in the 16th Congressional District. While they were advocating all Republican candidates in the congressional, senatorial, and presidential races, Kleber said that their campaigning mostly impacted Rep. Jim Renacci’s victory.
“I’m disappointed with the outcome for president,” Kleber said. “But the Republicans being able to retain the House means a lot.”