The Daily Gamecock

Runoff candidates aim to create turnout

Kazi, Wright focus on voter apathy as race continues

The two candidates in the SG presidential runoff race have a common, simple strategy: make sure students know there is a runoff race.

“The general strategy really is just maintaining voter turnout,” Rohail Kazi said. “I think historically it has been a problem that after general elections students get disinterested, so what’s really a challenge is to keep people interested and remind people that elections aren’t over and that they still need to vote on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Whether voters were interested in the first place is up for debate. Only 3,245 students voted, down almost 1,000 from last year.

Joe Wright, Kazi’s opponent, won the plurality in the general election with 29.4 percent to Kazi’s 27.1. Wright, who must now defend his small lead, faces the shifting loyalties and general apathy of the most apathetic of voting demographics. Winners in the general election have often lost the runoff.

“With runoffs it’s different; you have to re-evaluate everything because the votes can swing either way,” Wright said. “The trickiest thing is just getting people to vote again.”

Kazi’s strategy isn’t tricky. He said his campaign is “just sticking with the game plan” to bring the voters back to VIP and hopefully bridge the gap.

“We’re going to hit up some of the organizations that we haven’t before, and go back to some of the others to remind them,” Kazi said. “We’re not far behind — I’d say the race is pretty much neck and neck.”

Wright is taking the same general course, but his campaign has created a new logo for Facebook. It’s also amped up its other Internet campaigning and created a new video. Wright said that unlike his last video, he won’t be dancing in this one.

While current SG President Ebbie Yazdani has endorsed Kazi, current Vice President Taylor Cain, incoming Vice President Katie Thompson and incoming treasurer Emily Supil are behind Wright.

“It’s kind of split right now. Kind of the older group is endorsing Rohail, and a lot of the newer kids are endorsing me,” Wright said. “I think at this point that brings such new energy to the position that they’re afraid that I’m going to change things — and things do need to be changed — and they’re afraid that that’s going to upset their legacy.”

Voting for the runoffs will open 9 a.m. Tuesday and last until 5 p.m. Wednesday. To vote, log into VIP, click on the Personal tab and click on the Show Me button next to Student Government Elections.