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Honor candidates spend most in student elections

Hine, McPhail-Snyder top expenditure list, pay for copying, graphic design

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“I don’t think I’ve necessarily done more than other candidates,” Hine said. “I just made the mistake of going to Kinkos.”

Candidates for the upcoming Honor Committee elections have reported a wide range of spending patterns for their campaigns — though most said spending was not critical to their campaign nor to election outcomes.

The interim expenditures report released by the University Board of Elections shows candidates for Honor Representatives of the College are the highest spenders. The 27-member Honor Committee includes two representatives from each school except for the College, which has five representatives.

Third-year Nick Hine, one of eight College students running for Honor, spent the highest amount of all candidates. Hine said he spent $183.85 because he had posters printed commercially instead of using the Student Activities Center in Newcomb.

“I don’t think I’ve necessarily done more than other candidates,” Hine said. “I just made the mistake of going to Kinkos.”

Third-year College student Calvin McPhail-Snyder spent the second-highest amount. The bulk of his expenditures covered the graphics design for his flyers and Facebook event.

“A friend of mine just got design stuff,” McPhail-Snyder said. “I think the expense was worth it.”

Hine said he did not intend to spend more than the other candidates. He said the election should be based on a candidate’s merits and experiences, not on how much he or she spends.

“Overspending isn’t in the spirit of Honor [Committee] campaigning,” Hine said. “No one really wants to be in the position where they have outspent everyone.”

Several candidates used campaign spending to reach out to students. Third-year College student Henley Hopkinson said he wants his posters to encourage people to look him up.

“I know a lot of people,” Hopkinson said. “[But] as big as U.Va. is, by no means do I even know the majority.”

All the candidates interviewed used their own money. Some were conscious of the expense.

Third-year College student Nick Lee said he tries to be frugal.

“I find the best deals, and check on my posters every day,” Lee said. He re-tapes his posters if they are falling down.

Lee said campaign expenditures might put some students at a disadvantage.

Second-year college student Martese Johnson, another Honor Committee candidate, agreed.

“Some students might have less money than others,” Johnson said. “There’s a bit of a hierarchy in the student body.”

Other candidates, however, said spending on flyers and chalk does not make a huge difference in election turnout or outcome.

“The only way to get someone interested is personal connection,” McPhail-Snyder said. He said candidates’ time is more valuable than their money.

Hopkinson said he is sometimes uncomfortable campaigning. His pet peeve is shameless self-promotion.

“So I try to tone it down, even though it can be a factor in U.Va life, especially in leadership positions,” Hopkinson said.


Published February 22, 2014 in FP test, News

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