By Yanula Ramirez, Staff Writer
Two weeks from the culmination of a heated election battle, gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown visited San Diego State in an effort to appeal to young voters.
Current attorney general and former governor in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Brown spoke in a packed auditorium in Montezuma Hall to a crowd made up largely of cheering students who waited for an hour to hear Brown’s 20-minute speech.
The Democratic candidate catered his speech around funding higher education and creating green jobs while occasional jabbing his Republican counterpart Meg Whitman, mostly criticizing her campaign spending.
“If she’s wasting her money on the campaign, what might she do with our money if she ever got elected?” Brown asked during his speech. Whitman has spent a record-breaking $142 million of her own money in her campaign, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Brown also highlighted the importance of young voters in the November midterm elections, stating the youth vote “is a huge part of the whole mainly because of their enthusiasm, their energy and also because they will vote for their future.”
Brown’s head campaign manager and SDSU alumnus, Steve Glazer, agreed with the importance of young voters in the upcoming elections.
“The youth vote can be a critical element to the success or failure of candidates like Jerry Brown,” Glazer said.
Associated Students Vice President of External Affairs Laura Schofield said she reached out to both Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown about the possibility of speaking at SDSU. Whitman’s camp declined the offer, while Brown decided four days before the rally to make the university his destination and his only stop in San Diego.
Schofield stated A.S. isn’t endorsing any candidate.
According to Schofield, A.S. wanted to host gubernatorial rallies on campus in order to register students to vote and inform them about the issues involved in the upcoming election, but she wasn’t sure how students would respond to Brown’s visit. The packed auditorium on Thursday meant success for the A.S. executive.
“My friend sent me a picture of the line that wrapped all the way from Aztec Center to Campanile Walkway,” Schofield said. “My jaw hit the table and I was just proud of SDSU for taking an active interest in the politics of California.”
Even though the rally was packed with Brown supporters, some students in the crowd remained skeptical.
Public administration senior Justine Wiggins said she didn’t agree with some of the issues Brown highlighted, but she was excited to see the candidate in person instead of on the news.
“I haven’t been paying that much attention to the race so I thought it was cool he came to our school,” Wiggins said. “It’s great he gave us this opportunity, but I’m still not sure who I am going to vote for.”
Recent polling conducted by Rasmussen Reports indicated Brown and Whitman are neck and neck in the race to become the next governor of California. According to the poll, 48 percent of likely voters support Brown, while Whitman trails behind at 42 percent.
Schofield hopes Whitman will reconsider visiting SDSU.
“The invitation is still out there for Whitman to come,” Schofield said. “I think students deserve the chance to hear both sides of this race from the other major candidate. So if she changes her mind, we’re ready to make it happen for SDSU.”