Presidential hopefuls invade LCC

April 16, 2008

LIMA — While a few have managed to stay above going negative, that’s not so for the Mitt Romney and Ron Paul campaigns.“It’s more of the Ron Paul group attacked the Mitt Romney group, so the Romney was more in retaliation,” explained Romney, aka Lima Central Catholic High School senior Matt Huffman.“And I will add that the Romney signs were a lot more clever than the Paul signs,” Huffman said in another jab.Things are heating up in the final days before Friday’s mock political convention at the school. Luckily, convention chairman, senior Nick Stanford, is handling the “poster war” and other issues.The convention is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium, which will be decked out in American flags and campaign signs.Signs and posters hang all around the building; some from the actual campaigns and others designed by students.The “candidates” have been drumming up support for the past few weeks. Huffma, even wrangled an endorsement from school Principal Richard Mitterholzer, making for the perfect “Mitt For Mitt” sign.A primary held Tuesday saw John McCain, also known as senior Matt Hawk, leading with 15 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton, or Kayla Nocera, came in dead last. Undecided voters lead the way. That group will also include pupils from the Catholic elementary schools Friday. They will act as delegates, along with other LCC students and staff. Anyone attending will have a vote.All eight candidates will give speeches during the convention, including Stephen Colbert, aka Ray Creamer, who will be nominated on the floor of the convention.It will be a time of wheeling and dealing, including offering delegates cabinet and ambassador jobs if they win. Bribes will also be plentiful. It’s rumored that Paul, better known as Adam Swick, will pass out hot dogs with “Paul” written in mustard.The candidates all have their campaign strategies. Hawk admits it’s not all about McCain’s policies when he’s going door to door in the school campaigning for votes.“It also helps to have candy with you or something,” he said.Huffman is hoping to get the humor vote, and hopes some of his signs help. One reads, “Morman? More like More Man.”Huffman has a little more experience campaigning than others. He’s helped his dad, state Rep. Matt Huffman, who is the convention’s keynote speaker.Romney and Obama, aka Lauren Thomas, tied for second place during Tuesday’s primary. Thomas did well with female voters, so her strategy the rest of the week is to entice the guys to get on board.“I do have two guys on my campaign team, so I’m going to try to get them more involved,” she said.The students researched and picked which candidate they wanted to be. Thomas admitted that she’s a Republican, but is leaning toward Obama.Candidates are expected to arrive at Friday’s convention with their own security detail. Rumor has it that Thomas’ will double as backup dancers.Hawk will dye his hair gray, while Thomas will slick her hair back to take on a more manly look. Clinton, or Nocera, will come with her own “Bill,” but he won’t be allowed to speak.Their theme songs will blare while on stage. Several of the candidates are still working on their songs. Hawk is going with McCain’s actual song, “Johnny B Good.”Students said they are more interested in politics and the candidates since getting involved with the mock convention.The school has held the convention on election years since 1988. This year’s candidates remember being delegates when eighth-graders. The three boys attended St. Charles and represented California. Thomas and her St. Gerard classmates were from New York.“It’s something we all really had fond memories of,” Stanford said. “And are excited to participate in it.”