The congressional race has turned into a sprint.
After months of campaigning for votes, Illinois 12th Congressional District candidates William Enyart, Jason Plummer and Paula Bradshaw are making a final push with Election Day less than a week away.
The three candidates are vying to fill retiring U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello’s seat in Congress.
“Right now, we have a very hectic travel schedule,” said James McDonnough, the press secretary for Enyart. “We are getting in touch with our base and thanking the people who have supported us over the past few months.”
Enyart, the Democratic nominee, is a recently retired major general who commanded the Illinois National Guard.
The 62 year-old has also worked as an attorney in Belleville and is an SIU graduate with a journalism degree in 1974 and a law degree in 1979.
Enyart will be in Carbondale Friday and Saturday as a last-minute push for votes, McDonnough said. He will also travel to other southern Illinois counties.
College Democrats, a group at SIU, will be among Enyart’s supporters, said Chance Tate, the group’s president.
The student Democrats will host a Students for Bill Enyart rally in the free forum area from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Tate said. The group will also sponsor an Election Day rally from 12 to 2 p.m. in the free forum area, he said.
“We are abundantly aware that our efforts could pull Democrats over the top, more specifically the 12th Congressional race,” Tate said. “Students on campus are overwhelming in support of Democrat Bill Enyart.”
Plummer is also making a final push for votes.
The 30-year-old Republican businessman from O’Fallon met with medical professionals in Alton Monday about health care reform, said Philip Lasseigne, media representative for the Plummer campaign.
Plummer will also co-sponsor a Halloween night for kids in Bethalto and then travel to the southern part of the state for the rest of the week.
“Jason has been reaching out to voters throughout this entire election, and that is what he is doing leading up to the final days,” Lasseigne said. “Jason has been over every corner of the district.”
William Schroeder, a professor of law and adviser for the College Republicans at SIU, said he did not know of any Republican rallies coming up on campus. However, he encouraged students to get out and vote.
“It’s always important to vote,” he said. “The issues at stake in the election are going to affect students for a lot longer time than the older voters. They will all be dead, and (students) will be stuck with it.”
Paula Bradshaw, the Green Party candidate, is also working until the very end.
Bradshaw, a 59-year-old nurse from Carbondale, spoke at an anti-fracking rally at the Carbondale Civic Center Tuesday and hosted a fundraiser at the Newell House.
R.W. Hildreth, an associate professor of political science and adviser for the College Democrats, said the candidates’ efforts are normal for this time of the campaign.
“The final week of the election is always chaotic,” he said. “Campaigns are working feverishly on their game to get citizens to vote for their candidates.”
Hildreth also said he noticed the candidates haven’t spent much time discussing issues that affect college students. He said a large number of student votes could change the way candidates feel about the issues.
“I think that it is incredibly important that all SIU students — Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Independents — turnout and vote in this election,” he said. “A strong turnout is one great way to reverse this trend.”