Last Monday, Pennsylvania State Representative for the 156th district, Dan Truitt, and his opponent for the 2012 election season, Bret Binder visited Professor LeVasseur’s 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Political Communication classes to discuss with students how communication affects their campaign strategies.
Neither Truitt nor Binder studied politics or political science in college. Truitt is an engineer, and Binder is a lawyer. Both are small-business owners, one of a pudding company and the other works in computer technology. And unlike most other politicians, being a state representative would not be their only job.
Despite their busy schedules and lack of experience in the field, each candidate has dedicated an enormous amount of time to campaigning for the position of Pennsylvania State Representative for the 156th District — Chester County.
While many college students are planning to vote on Nov. 6, most probably do not know who Bret Binder is; likewise, if they have heard the name Dan Truitt, it has likely only been in passing conversation. Come election day, most voters will likely find themselves at the bottom of the ballot choosing to vote based on party rather than on issue preferences.
Unlike President Obama and Governor Romney, who are campaigning based on what they can do for America and their voters, Binder said that he and Truitt are campaigning based on who remembers their name when they walk into the voting booth next week, on the chance that of two people they know nothing about, they will pick the one whose name they recognize.
To make sure that people know who they are, the two candidates have spent the past year campaigning from door to door throughout Chester County, each knocking on roughly 10,000 doors. “I’ve been through five pairs of shoes,” said Truitt jokingly. He went on to say that he wishes he started campaigning earlier so that he could have reached more voters.
And that has only been one important campaign task. Both candidates and their campaign staffs have also distributed hundreds of pamphlets, posted twice as many lawn signs throughout the county, and produced a number of commercials (mostly negative ads, although both said they waited for the other to begin the attack). Each has a website, and Binder’s consultant, who he hired to handle the political aspects of the job, handles his Facebook and Twitter accounts (which he asked students to go “like” and “follow”).
With everybody’s campaigns winding down as Election Day draws closer, Truitt and Binder are focusing on a much smaller scale than are the presidential hopefuls.
While President Obama and Governor Romney race across the country, trying to speak to as many crowds in as many battleground states as possible, Truitt and Binder are focusing on a much smaller scale: that of the individual person.
Truitt pointed out that while it may not seem like one vote counts for much, in an election like this, it comes down to small numbers.
Your vote could make the difference.
Kiersten Monagle is a third-year student majoring in communication studies and journalism. She can be reached at KM745613@wcupa.edu.