The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

SBP candidates say their campaign managers are indispensable

Three student body president candidates got their names on the ballot, but without their campaign managers, they doubt they would have.

On Feb. 14, students will cast their votes for Will Leimenstoll, Calvin Lewis Jr. or Tim Longest. But nine other students serving as campaign managers are working just as hard for those votes.

“It would be impossible for the candidate to get everything done on his own,” said Longest, who has three campaign managers.

Leimenstoll has five campaign managers and Lewis has one.

Longest said being his campaign manager is at least a part-time job.

“I’m in contact with Tim every day, every hour,” said Paige Comparato, Longest’s external campaign manager.

From helping with platform writing to arranging lunch for the candidates, the campaign managers are indispensable, candidates said.

“It takes up a pretty big portion of the day, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Cody Poplin, Leimenstoll’s chief campaign manager.

Campaign managers coordinate volunteer involvement, scheduling, communication and social media. They also help candidates form and focus in on ideas.

Lewis said the candidate and the campaign manager play different roles, but sometimes the line that separates them blurs.

“As a candidate, my primary objective is to get out, meet people, educate people, inform people, let people know who I am and what I stand for,” Lewis said.

“As a campaign manager, your objective is to organize the campaign.”

Managers believe their candidate will best lead the student body, but often are chosen because candidates know they will be honest with them, Leimenstoll said.

“I luckily chose friends who are not afraid to be critical and tell me the truth,” he said.

Leimenstoll chose his campaign managers primarily from his close friends, while Longest and Lewis said they took a different route.

Leimenstoll said junior Chelsea Phipps holds the title “life organizer/professional best friend” on his campaign staff.

Longest chose his campaign managers from student groups he has been involved in, he said.

“We were friends but we were never close friends before this experience,” Longest said. “I knew their personalities and work ethic, so I knew they would complement each other really well.”

Lewis said he and his campaign manager, Erin Mincey, met as orientation leaders and he admired her honest feedback and organization.

Dividing the roles among multiple managers can make the workload more manageable, but can also have negative consequences, said Patricia Flood, vice chairwoman of the Board of Elections.

“The larger the campaign, the less personal the campaign can become,” Flood said.

Student Body President Mary Cooper said she had five campaign managers when she ran.

“I could not have gotten elected without them,” Cooper said. “It helped spread the workload.”

Cooper said campaign managers help on a personal level too.

“Campaign managers are there when you need a laugh or a wake-up call,” Cooper added. “I never felt that I was alone.”

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