Ohioans will go to the polls to vote in the presidential primaries next week.
But organizers of the mock convention at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware decided that might be a good way to introduce them.
Emma Drongowski was the mock convention’s co-chair.
“We wanted something interactive, fun and engaging.
So each member of the executive board is mimicking a Republican candidate. We’ve all done a lot of research on our candidates.” (fade up natural sound) OWU’s mock convention features only the candidates for the party not in power, so the attendees were only looking at the Republican candidates.
The speed dating event takes place in a large banquet room on campus.
There are several tall cocktail tables and at each, there is a student who is either pretending to be the candidate or acting as their surrogate based on research they conducted on where candidates stood on issues.
Senior Emily Feldmesser pretended to be Ohio Governor John Kasich when she answered a question from a handful of students about student debt.
“I have increased state funding for public universities and have capped universities from raising the cost of their annual tuition in 2016 which means in the 2017 fiscal year, nothing will increase.” (play sound underneath) The acting candidates and surrogates have only a few short minutes to talk to students at their table before they hear this. The rest of the guys in the Senate here don’t like me because I tend to vote alongside the Democrats if I think that’s what the nation needs.” Ashley Biser, an associate professor of politics and government at OWU, says the mock convention is always a scaled down version of the real thing.
(the bell rings) The bell means it’s time to move on to another table and meet another candidate. And she says the speed dating, which is a new activity in this year’s convention, was the students’ idea. We predicted Geraldine Ferraro for her vice presidential run long before anybody else did.
Some of the candidates featured at this convention have since dropped out of the race. “We were talking about ways to help to inform the campus about the different issues and the students really thought this would be a good way to move through a lot of different candidates quickly and to get to know their positions.” Biser says the mock convention, which is open to all OWU students, enjoys good attendance. And Biser says the convention has a pretty good track record over time in picking the eventual winners. And then sometimes, we’ve been pretty far off for political reasons and sometimes just for fun.” Case in point: In 2012, the mock convention nominated comedian Stephen Colbert for vice president.
Sophomore Chris Dobeck of the Cleveland area posed as Kentucky Sen. Here’s what happened when students at his table questioned his conservative credentials by asking if he was more moderate than John Kasich. So who has the mock convention chosen to be the Republican Presidential candidate this year?