College Republicans energized


Tom Ackerman, [email protected]

With a bang, Republicans have made their mark in Iowa.

College Republicans throughout the state will try to garner support for GOP caucus winner Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Until last night, the students didn’t have a candidate to stand behind in the crowded GOP race, but they are moving forward and supporting Cruz.

“Our motive and goal as College Republicans is to better the Republican Party and make sure we win in 2016 no matter who the candidate is,” said Alexa Den Herder, a vice chairwoman of University of Iowa College Republicans.

With Republicans having had a greater number of candidates to divide the party at the caucuses than Democrats, Den Herder said it is crucial for students and supporters to now unify and rally around a single candidate.

Those involved with College Republican groups said no one has been encouraged to vote one way or another in the coming primaries, but a focus is being placed on moving the party forward as a whole with the White House in sight.

“When I’m pushing out information for how to caucus and what to bring to caucuses, my Marco hat does come off, just because it’s not fair,” said Brittany Gaura, Iowa State University’s College Republican head. “It’s my job to let them know they have options.”

And with a push for young voters’ involvement in the polls, Monday’s turnout hit record numbers for the state. Campaigners at the UI credit this to a strong initiative off the bat.

“We [Paul supporters] were at both of the student organization fairs at the beginning of the school year, and that’s where we got a really solid base of kids who want to come out,” said Alex Staudt, the treasurer of UI College Republicans.

“We’re hoping to bring out 10,000 students across the state of Iowa,” he said. “This is something we’ve really been pushing.”

Staudt said the race has shown a large shift in support throughout upcoming months, as meetings began with many students vying for Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.

“That’s basically been the tale of this whole caucus is that you have a front-runner for about two or three weeks, and then they die off, and somebody else surges up,” he said. “It’s just a different flavor of the month that people get behind.”

Though the Republicans aren’t ready to wholly commit to Cruz until he wins the nomination, Den Herder said if it comes down to it, students will back the Republican contender.

“I think it was kind of a surprise, but lot of us are happy about it,” she said. Den Herder also said she wouldn’t discount Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., from the running, noting that he appears to be “what a lot of millennial are looking for in a candidate.”

“We’re going to take it as it comes,” Gaura said. “If you win Iowa, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the nomination, so I think in steps going forward, we’re going to be keeping support strong for Marco on campus and not letting students lose touch with that.”

Den Herder said an emphasis is being placed on conservative recruitment for upcoming meetings rather than picking a viable candidate at this point.

“What we saw is a ton of Republicans at precincts,” she said. “I saw four rooms packed with conservatives.”


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