Political organization take on campus

Alissa Atkinson

On campus, ISU Democrats have been more visible than ISU College Republicans, but that doesn’t mean members of the Republican student organization aren’t doing anything.

“We don’t want to come off as obnoxious,” said Samantha Clark, chairwoman of ISU College Republicans and senior in political science.

Although the ISU College Republicans have appeared to have less face time on campus, they’ve been influential in their campaign, Clark said.

The ISU College Republicans do much of their work off campus, making phone calls from phone banks and going door-to-door to educate members of the community about voting for John McCain. They attend themed nights at the Latham Headquarters, 1421 S. Bell Ave. #108A, such as “Ladies’ Night,” “Men’s Night” and “College Republicans Night.”

ISU Democrats have reached out to students in multiple ways. The Vote Early for Change rally with Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore was a highlight of their activities. Teresa Tompkins, member of the ISU Democrats and sophomore in political science, said the rally was a success.

“There were at least 200 spectators,” she said. “The entire atrium was filled and at least two of the upper levels of the Design Building were filled as well.” She said the rally will likely generate more support for Barack Obama.

Rebecca Sanders, sophomore in pre-advertising, said she attended the rally “primarily to see Ashton and Demi.”

“In the back of my mind, I thought it would be good to hear about Obama from a different perspective,” she said. The rally didn’t change her opinion on Obama, but she did learn about early voting, which she didn’t know was possible.

ISU College Republicans, Clark said, hoped to debate the ISU Democrats, as they believed it would be a great way to educate students on each party’s candidate.

“The ISU Democrats said they did not feel comfortable debating us, as they didn’t think they would be well represented,” Clark said.

Members of the Political Science Club, Clark said, agreed to write the questions that neither side would see before the debate. A time, date and location were arranged by ISU College Republicans, so the ISU Democrats would only have to attend the debate.

When asked why ISU Democrats refused, William Marsh, president of the ISU Democrats and graduate student in mechanical engineering, said they “were happy to partake, but unfortunately the Republicans haven’t succeeded in organizing anything.”

ISU Democrats are regularly on campus to register students to vote.

They want to “reach out to all students interested in bringing change to Washington,” Marsh said.

However, Jose Reyes Alamo, graduate student in computer science, challenges that statement.

“I walked up to a table that read ‘ISU for Obama’,” he said. “I asked them whether they were registering people to vote or to vote for Obama. The girl said, ‘Only for Obama.’ In my opinion, and I think even legally, this is wrong.”

He said because Iowa is a swing state, neutrality and objectivity are most important to ensure a smooth election.

Marsh said the volunteer must have made a mistake.

“It is the policy of the ISU Democrats to help anyone register who wants to be registered,” she said.

Both the ISU Democrats and ISU College Republicans are confident in their candidate’s ability to win the state of Iowa.

“With the world the way it is, there isn’t time for on-the-job training or false promises,” said Corey Becker, member of ISU College Republicans and junior in political science. “John McCain will be ready on day one to confront the issues that we, as a nation, face.”

Tompkins said she believes Obama is the best candidate for the presidency.

“Barack Obama responds directly to the issues with the truth and can provide effective means for change for the future,” she said.

ISU Democrats

Weekly meetings: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Democrat Headquarters, 303 Welch Ave. – Behind Stomping Grounds

Dues: None

Contact: William Marsh at [email protected]

ISU College Republicans

Weekly meetings: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: 0001 Carver Hall

Dues: $5 per year

Contact: Samantha Clark at [email protected]