SMCM Student's Video Chronicle of McKay-Dyson Race Receives State-wide Attention

Student's Documentary on the 2006 Elections Impresses Politicians and the Media

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - From reporter's notebook to mini video cam, St. Mary's College of Maryland political science major Elisabeth Lewis ('07, Elkton, Md.) documented Tommy McKay's campaign for Roy Dyson's Southern Maryland state senate seat (District 29). Her senior project video has created a buzz among politicians and media around the state and provides a window into the changing nature of local politics.

"This documentary is a great piece of history for this community," said Thomas F. McKay, the former president of the St. Mary's County Commissioners and, unsuccessful candidate for State Senate whom Lewis profiled in her video. "It's something you can look at 25, 30 years from now and get a good understanding of what politics was like [in rural Maryland] in 2006."

Lewis's documentary, The Close Race that Wasn't Close, has received attention from several local and state newspapers. Maryland Public Television (MPT) will feature the documentary later this month. The St. Mary's College Political Science Department also nominated her work for a national award through the Pi Sigma Alpha honor society. Lewis interviewed dozens of people, compiled hundreds of hours of tape from the campaign trail, and plowed through old photographs and newspapers to bring out the true nature of local politics.

"Liz Lewis captured the essence of a growing national trend," said Zach Messitte, an assistant professor of political science at St. Mary's and Lewis's faculty adviser for the project. "Local political campaigns are struggling to keep their innocence, but money, scandal, and negative campaigning are creeping into the debate."

Lewis, who worked on national, state and local political campaigns during her four years at St. Mary's, graduates from St. Mary's College this week. The time she spent working on her video cemented her plans to pursue a career in politics or public policy. "The people who work on campaigns, particularly local campaigns, are still people who love the community, love the issues, love the candidates," Lewis said. "It is important that this process remains pure."

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