On a campus known the world over as a Democratic stronghold, LSA junior Chris Irvine, chair of the College Republicans at the University, knows he’s fighting an uphill battle. Still, the College Republicans have managed to be a formidable campus presence. Here’s what Irvine had to say about party infighting, state tax cuts draining the University’s budget and the difficulty of getting big name presidential candidates to speak in a city without a single Republican on City Council.
Right now we’re just trying to get as many people involved as possible. Obviously we’re supporting all the Republican candidates; we’re not fighting for one over the other. Anyone running for the Republican nomination we’re supporting. As far as the different candidates go, and pushing the elections itself, that’s more in the hands of the students-for groups right now.
l We never deem politics in Ann Arbor a lost cause, what we more or less do is put our name out there for candidates who are interested in running and those that are usually approach us. Still, I can’t think of a time when we helped anyone with City Council. Not that we wouldn’t. We just haven’t been approached by anyone looking for a City Council seat.
l We’ve been trying to help people run for John Dingell’s congressional seat. De-seating john Dingell would be an Appalachian State-over-Michigan-football type victory, but we’re shooting for the best we can do.
l With the state Republican Party, there’s a lot of infighting going on – I know it’s the same case for both parties. It’s competitive people trying to do the best they can for themselves. As to the recall efforts in the state right now, it’s outside of the line of our duties as the College Republicans to try to recall any Republican elected officials.
l I feel like the University has not done a good enough job after being hit with cuts. They make up for what’s getting cut by raising the cost of tuition and of student living. They just expect automatically that the students should be making that difference up.
l If they were to tell me off-hand that they couldn’t do anything anywhere without decreasing the quality of education I would kind of scoff at that.
l We haven’t done anything so far with Young Americans for Freedom. Things got sort of rocky toward the end of last year, I know there were some individuals in both groups that really didn’t care for each other. But we really haven’t done too much at all with YAF this year.
l Concerning the inflammatory tactics used by some campus conservative groups – it’s never bad to have a loud voice. But when we have people out attacking other people, that obviously doesn’t help us too much, because anybody who’s being attacked isn’t going to want to listen to what we have to say.
l The big-name Republicans coming to Michigan but not to campus is one of the things we’ve talked about. It’s very difficult for us to get high-profile people to come out because Ann Arbor is obviously one of the most liberal cities in the nation.
l It’s definitely a goal to become a more relevant group in Ann Arbor, that’s one of the big focuses. But at the same time, we stick to our chief goal of trying to represent the Republican students on campus as best as we can, and give them a chance to be around other people who are passionate about the Republican philosophy.