Got a spare room? A political staffer may need it.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
The Gang family is so into the presidential political campaign that they've invited six campaign staffers into their home over the past three cycles.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Both sides using a small army of paid staff, volunteers to reach voters

When Kriss and Debbie Gang’s youngest son moved off to college in 2008, they quickly filled the void — and his room — by hosting campaign staffers in Ohio working to re-elect Barack Obama.

Over the past three presidential campaign cycles, the Gang house has been the temporary home for six Democratic workers for months at a time.

“Of course, that doesn’t count the weekend drop in (workers). I lost count of those,” said Kriss Gang. He looks back fondly on his crew from 2008. “Sam and Rosh were wonderful. They’re the ones we call our campaign kids.”

This time around Natasha Bunzl of New York has taken over the second floor of the Gang’s Craftsman style home in South Park Historic District. The Gangs have even welcomed weekend visits from Bunzl’s parents and her boyfriend, Kriss Gang said.

In a hotly contested swing state race, presidential campaigns often bring in paid staffers to Ohio from around the country. Local volunteers are ready to offer them a spare bedroom.

While the Clinton and Obama campaigns have used such arrangments, Trump campaign spokesman Seth Unger said he is unaware of a similar program on his side of the race and he noted that the Trump operation relies on Ohio-based volunteers — not out of staters.

In the final stretches of the 2016 campaign, both sides are using a small army of paid staff and volunteers to knock on doors, make phone calls and do the foot-soldier work of getting out the vote. Absentee and early in-person voting in Ohio started Wednesday.

A week ago, the Trump campaign said hundreds of volunteers knocked on 118,000 doors in Ohio.

“Volunteer to voter contact is the most effective way to persuade and turn out voters, and Mr. Trump’s volunteers can knock more than 100,000 doors a day while Hillary Clinton has to pay people to promote her failed policies of a third Obama term. Our campaign will be using every day of early and absentee voting to get out our voters, culminating in an Election Day win for Mr. Trump,” said Bob Paduchik, Ohio State Director for the Trump campaign, in a written statement.

The Clinton campaign has 67 field offices, hundreds of paid staffers and thousands of volunteers focused on the get-out-the-vote push, the campaign said.

Carol Finley, an occupational therapist who lives in Oakwood, volunteers for the Clinton campaign and has hosted two paid staffers in her spare bedrooms this cycle.

“When they first came in June, way back, I’d see them in the evening because they’d get home around 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. Now their hours are about 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. I see them rarely,” Finley said.

She added: “If you’re at all engaged in politics and don’t have the time to do the level of volunteering that you’d like to do, this assuages the guilt and makes you feel like you’re contributing something to the campaign.”