Following last night’s Iowa caucus, which mark the official start of the presidential primary season, University of Michigan student groups are preparing to campaign for their candidates on campus.
LSA sophomore Kelly Bernero, the chair of Students for Hillary, has been in Iowa since Dec. 29. Bernero and other members of the group spent much of their time calling potential voters to encourage them to caucus for presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton. Yesterday they went door to door for the New York senator, reminding her supporters to vote.
Bernero said she’s met a lot of student volunteers, but not many students planning to vote in the caucus.
She said it’s often difficult for people to caucus because of work schedules and other prior commitments.
Students for Hillary was the only University of Michigan student group – Democrat or Republican – that traveled to Iowa to campaign for a candidate.
LSA senior Travis Radina, the chair of Students for Edwards, said his group decided not to travel to Iowa, instead focusing on campaigning in Michigan instead.
Michigan’s primary is scheduled for Jan. 15, violating the Democratic National Committee’s rules prohibiting states other than Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and Nevada from holding primary elections before February 5. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) subsequently dropped out of the Michigan election.
Radina said he’s confident in Edwards’s following. He said that the group will begin campaigning more aggressively next week to encourage voters to support Edwards.
LSA freshman Justin Schon, chair of the University’s chapter of Students for Joe Biden, said the group hasn’t been focusing on Iowa, either.
He said he doesn’t know how the group will campaign for the Delaware senator in Michigan, but said the group will begin to increase publicity soon.
LSA senior Amy Drumm, chair of the University’s chapter of Students for Romney, said she spent most of her break at Mitt Romney’s caucus headquarters in Farmington Hills, Mich.
She was there yesterday, calling supporters to solidify their votes and watching the results come in.
Students for Kucinich is preparing for a visit from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Jan. 14, said LSA sophomore Yousef Rabhi, the group’s chair. Kucinich will be speaking in the Natural Science Building at 2:30 p.m. Students for a Sensible Drug Policy will be broadcasting the event.
Rabhi said Students for Kucinich plans to step up its efforts in the state of Michigan.
LSA sophomore Tom Duvall, chair of Students for Obama, said many group members spent their winter breaks calling Iowa students and encouraging them to caucus. Duvall said he’s cautiously optimistic about Obama’s chances during primary season.
Rob Johnson, chair of Students for Ron Paul, said the group hasn’t focused on Iowa so that they can organize what they will be doing in Michigan. He said the group is planning to go door-to-door to talk to students and Ann Arbor residents.
“We don’t have any time to lose in Michigan,” Johnson said.