Presidential candidates spending final days of campaign in Columbus
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 4, 2012 22:11
It’s all coming down to Ohio.
This year has brought multiple visits by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan to the Buckeye state.
The candidates will descend upon Ohio once more for the final day of campaigning Monday.
During his Friday morning stop in Central Ohio, Obama told the crowd at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, “We’ll win Ohio. We’ll win this election.”
Later that evening, Romney was in West Chester, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati, for the largest campaign event this season with roughly 30,000 attendees.
The event was met with support from Ohio College Republican groups, with 250 members scheduled to be at the rally, and 50 of those from Ohio State, said Niraj Antani, communications director for the OSU College Republicans.
But that wasn’t all for Ohioans. Romney will be back in Columbus Monday for an event at Landmark Aviation at the Port Columbus Airport. Doors to the event are set to open at 4 p.m. with tickets available to the public online.
Antani said Romney is spending his last day campaigning reaching out to gain more support.
“Franklin County typically swings Democrat,” Antani said. “Obama is coming here … in an area he should be doing well.”
Antani thinks Obama’s frequent visits show that he hasn’t been finding the support he traditionally has in Franklin County.
Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus is scheduled to host Obama along with musical artists Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. Doors to the event are set to open at noon Monday.
Michael Flannagan, communications director at OSU College Democrats, isn’t surprised either candidate will be spending the last day of campaigning and early voting in Ohio.
“It shows how important this region is on Election Day,” Flannagan said.
Some students said Ohio’s importance is obvious.
“We all know Ohio is a swing state. You don’t have to even care about politics to know how important it is to win Ohio,” said Rachel Mauer, a second-year in biology. “If I were a presidential candidate this is where I would be on the last day of campaigning.”
Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli said at about 11 a.m. Sunday, there have been more than 236,000 requests for early voting in Franklin County. Of those, more than 60,000 were for in-person ballots at an early voting center.
Obama gave a speech on the Oval Oct. 9, but Flannagan said he wished Romney would have also made a visit to campus as well.
“I wish Gov. Romney had thought OSU was more beneficial to visit. Regardless of your party affiliation, it would’ve been cool to hear from both candidates,” Flannagan said.
Antani said he thinks a lot of students will be interested in attending Romney’s final campaign speech at Landmark Aviation, and Flannagan said that undecided students should take advantage of going to see the president speak.
“Seeing the president of the United States is a really cool experience,” Flannagan said.
Despite their frequent visits to Ohio, some students said they aren’t planning to vote for either candidate.
“I’m not supporting either candidate. I’m voting, just not for them,” said Rebecca Davis, a second-year in chemistry.
Mauer also said she wasn’t planning to attend either event.
“It’s cool the presidential candidates are always here, but I am not the biggest fan of political campaigns,” she said.
Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said students can go to the Student Life website and request a utility bill to use as accepted identification at the polls. That student will be granted a ResNet Internet service bill which will show a zero-dollar balance but will be addressed to them at their campus address.
“We want to make sure students who show up to vote have proper identification and can vote,” Isaacs said.
Flannagan said whatever candidate you choose, voting is important.
“What we do now will have a direct effect on our futures,” Flannagan said.
According to The Dispatch Poll in The Columbus Dispatch, the numbers are still close between Obama and Romney. As of Nov. 4, Obama is leading Ohio 50 percent to Romney’s 48 percent with a 2.2 percent margin of error.
Alexandra Casola and Nicole Albanese contributed to this article