March 29, 2016

Sanders opens local primary office

By Adam Scraga

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders opened a campaign office at 2020 Euclid Ave., across the street from the Cleveland State University campus. But, according to one member of his campaign staff, his campaign did nothing to reach out to Cleveland State students.


The campaign office opened Wednesday, March 2. Several larger posters on the wall included a silhouette of Sanders accompanied by the words “Welcome to the Revolution” as well as the giant letters “OHIO” being spelled out in “Bernie for President” signs.


Jeff Rusnak, Ohio coordinator of the Bernie Sanders campaign, gave a short speech about the opening of the office and the Ohio campaign.


Rusnak is the president and CEO of R Strategy Group, which describes itself as “one of Ohio’s leading strategic communications and advocacy firms.”


The Euclid Avenue office is only one of many in Ohio. There are three in Cleveland and one each in Canton, Youngstown, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo.


Tim Russo, a 48-year-old Cleveland State student in his second year in the Master of Arts in Global Innovations program, was responsible for staffing at the Lakewood campaign office starting in January, as well as running the NEO4Bernie Twitter account to help encourage people to vote.


“I [joined the campaign] because I just believe in what Bernie Sanders stands for,” Russo said. “I believe we need a political revolution so that the economy is not rigged for the top 1 percent.”


When asked why he thought Bernie Sanders was so popular among younger people and college students, he responded, “Because they don’t see a future the way previous generations saw a future. They understand that they need to do something right now.”


Russo gave a surprising opinion about the Euclid Avenue office and Ohio campaign in general, saying it was “run incompetently.”


“They did absolutely nothing to reach out to Cleveland State students,” Russo said. “The office was literally right across the street, and they did nothing the entire week before spring break to try and reach students to get them to volunteer.”


When asked to respond to Russo’s comments, Rusnak said, “We had representatives tabling every day in Cleveland State along with an aggressive social media campaign, including texting, which has been successful at other campuses across the state. There were Cleveland State volunteers in the office every day. I am not sure where Tim Russo gets his information, but he is misinformed.”


After Sanders’ defeat in the Ohio Primary on March 15, when he lost to Hillary Clinton, 56 percent to 42 percent, the Euclid Avenue office is in the process of closing, with workers removing signs and packing items.


Very soon it will be the empty storefront it was prior to the primary — and many Clevelanders will have never known of its existence.


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