Both groups might have high hopes for November’s elections, but College Democrats seem a step ahead of College Republicans in organizing their strategy.
More than 10 months before voters take to the polls, the group met in the Michigan Union yesterday to set up plans for the election year and brainstorm ways to support Democratic candidates.
They have created a student group in honor of first-term Democrat Debbie Stabenow, the incumbent senator running for re-election this November.
LSA freshman Aghogho Edevbie, Students for Stabenow’s vice chair, said the group plans to raise money for the Stabenow campaign and swing general campus momentum in her favor.
On the opposite side of the political world, College Republicans plan on inviting GOP candidates to speak at mass meetings.
They will create groups to support candidates and to raise funds, said Robert Scott, College Republicans vice chair.
They will also use this fall’s football games as a campaign opportunity, he said.
But College Republicans have not yet had a meeting to organize plans for the election.
College Democrats chair Libby Benton says the group’s ongoing voter registration campaign is the best way to make a difference in the elections.
“The issues students care about will not be reflected in public policy until they are more aware of and engaged with politics,” Benton said. “Until then, politicians won’t care about them.”
The group plans to be active in MSA’s Voice Your Vote commisssion, a bipartisan voter-registration campaign. At yesterday’s meeting, some members of the group signed up to help register students in the basement of the Union and on the Diag.
In addition to the U.S. senatorial race, voters will decide this year who will hold several prominent posts in the state – including governor.
Scott said College Republicans intend to focus on the gubernatorial race, supporting Republican hopeful Dick DeVos, the former CEO of Ada-based Alticor. Devos hopes to unseat incumbent Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic governor.
Three Republican candidates will meet in a primary later this year to decide who will run against her. Although they do not endorse candidates in primary elections, College Republicans will support the candidate who wins, Scott said.
“We’ll try to get good representation for all three candidates here at some point this semester,” said Jordan Fennema, the group’s publicity chair.
“We want to be messengers for whichever Republican candidates come to us for help,” Fennema said.
The Republican candidates are Michael Bouchard, the sheriff of Oakland County, Keith Butler, the Pastor of International Christian Center Church, and Jerry Zandstra, director of the Acton Institute, based in Grand Rapids.