Local candidates scramble to get their message out before voters hit the polls

U.S. Rep challenger Steve Cox Erica Magda

By Emily Herbick

Local candidates are busy getting their message to voters before they hit the polls Tuesday.

Incumbent state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-103, will continue her door-to-door campaign, said Robin Barrow, the head of Jakobsson’s Champaign office.

“People are surprised when she knocks on their door,” Barrow said. “A lot of people don’t go door to door or they don’t see their state representative.”

Meanwhile, her Republican opponent, Frank Calabrese, senior in LAS, is sending out fliers to independent voters older than the age of 25 in the Champaign-Urbana community detailing his platform and his endorsement by the Chicago Tribune.

“I want voters to know that I’m running for state representative to support this University and to reform Springfield,” Calabrese said.

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He went door-to-door on Saturday in Urbana with state Rep. Shane Cultra, R-105, to try to sway voters.

Calabrese had also planned on chalking the Quad on Monday, passing out fliers and putting up posters around campus for the election.

“I know where the students are and I’ve been reaching them because I am one,” Calabrese said.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Ill., will be working the phones until election day, said his press secretary, Phil Bloomer.

Bloomer said Johnson calls about 100-200 constituents a day. His campaign staff has also been on campus speaking to groups and passing out fliers and door hangers.

“While he’s optimistic about serving a fifth term in Congress, he doesn’t take it for granted by any means,” Bloomer said. “He’s still working the phones. He’s still calling constituents all around the district and is eager to have Tuesday behind us so we can focus on the things that we need to focus on.”

Bloomer said there has been a special effort to get new voters and students to recognize Johnson’s record with higher education and in particular his work for the University. Many students do not know Johnson’s record like other members of the district, so there has been an effort to pass out literature and spread the message.

Johnson’s Democratic opponent, Steve Cox said that he has been mostly distributing fliers about his candidacy to the 15th District, including to University students, and he tries to avail himself to every “meet the candidate” function so that people will get to know him and his what he’ll work for.

“Young people are voting on their future and they need to be sure that they participate,” Cox said.

“I have no desire whatsoever to be a politician. I have every desire to be a representative of the people of the 15th Congressional District.”