Candidates canvass ‘The O.C.’

With the Ward 1 aldermanic election a month and a half away, candidates Rebecca Livengood ’07 and Nick Shalek ’05 are working hard to inform the ward’s residents — and especially Old Campus freshmen — about the race and get them interested in their campaigns.

Livengood, the Democratic candidate and the current alderwoman, said she and her supporters have nearly finished going door-to-door on Old Campus and have registered over 200 people to vote in Connecticut. On the other hand, Shalek, the independent challenger, said that instead of going door-to-door, he is meeting with campus organizations and people who have expressed an interest in the race.

Still, a number of freshmen on Old Campus said they had not even heard of the election.

“No one has knocked on our door to my knowledge,” Erin York ’09 said. “I don’t have necessarily a steady source of news … I don’t really comb the paper for the political stuff I don’t know anything about.”

Livengood said she has had a great experience talking to freshmen on Old Campus and plans to continue going door-to-door in the ward’s seven residential colleges.

“The freshmen have been great,” she said. “The level of awareness has been tremendously varied. Some people really know quite a bit about it, and others know nothing at all.”

Shalek said he felt it was more appropriate to meet with people and organizations that have invited him to speak to them, opportunities he uses to reach out to people who may have not have been previously involved in Ward 1 politics. He said he has spent three to four hours per day on Old Campus, meeting with people who are interested in the race and having them introduce him to their friends.

“It’s easier and it’s better not to knock on people’s doors to annoy them and bother them with a message they don’t really want,” Shalek campaign manager Brett Edkins ’06 said. “We’re basically using the message itself to draw people in.”

But some Old Campus freshmen said going door-to-door need not be annoying. A number of freshmen said they did not know anything about the race and would be glad to learn more about it.

“On the one hand it’s a little bit intrusive, but I appreciate being able to talk to a person about [the race],” Sam Massie ’09 said. “That’s a better way for me to learn about it than by reading about it.”

Others said, however, said they were not particularly interested in learning a lot about the race.

“It’s nice to know about it, but no matter how long I live in the Yale-New Haven area I’m still from Georgia, so the politics I’m concerned about are in Georgia,” Nicole Espy ’09 said.

Livengood and Shalek are preparing to go up against each other in open debates, the first of which will be hosted by the Yale College Democrats on Saturday. The Dems decided to hold the debate in order to give their members a chance to get to know the candidates before holding an endorsement vote on Monday.

Ward 1’s aldermanic election will be held Nov. 8. The ward, which is comprised mostly of Yale student housing, includes students on Old Campus and in Berkeley, Branford, Calhoun, Davenport, Jonathan Edwards, Pierson and Saybrook colleges.

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