By Alex Campbell and Caroline Barry
Forget Donald, Hillary, Bernie and Jeb—we’ve got political powerhouses here in Westfield. Meet Anthony Pericolo and Will Harmer, two WHS seniors running for president of the United States. The candidates will host a presidential debate in the Presbyterian Church in Westfield on Oct. 17 from 7–9 p.m.
Pericolo is running for the Republican Party nomination, which he describes as “the only party that protects individual rights.” Said Pericolo, “I believe I have the qualities necessary to lead America to a better future.” Harmer is running for the Socialist Party USA’s nomination. According to Harmer, he originally decided to run for fun, but took it more seriously when Pericolo joined the race.
The first step to run is to fill out a statement of candidacy through the Federal Election Commission Form 2. Although neither candidate is old enough to be elected, candidacy has no age requirement.
The candidates follow the recent trend of teenage candidates. Deez Nuts, the 15-year-old presidential candidate from Iowa, recently polled at 9 percent in North Carolina.
“Many people do not believe that I am serious when I say that I am running for president,” Pericolo said. “I need to not only utilize the time before the primaries to convince them otherwise, but to convince them that I am the right choice to lead America forward.”
The debate will cover many of the topics that have been discussed in the national debates, ranging from social inequalities to budget issues. Said Harmer: “I have compiled...about seven pages of facts. I hope to use that to drive home the issues in our country…I want people to understand the real issues facing this country.”
Pericolo and Harmer will use this debate to communicate their beliefs to the Westfield community. “I hope to get people to realize what is happening in this country right now, [for example]...more than 20 percent of [senior citizens] don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Harmer said. “That’s our grandparents, that’s our aunts and uncles, that’s our family friends.”
The two candidates are eagerly awaiting the debate. “We are both completely unique people and will stand out in our respective parties,” Pericolo said. “It will be a tough fight—and an entertaining one to watch.”