Republicans on campus attempt to inform classmates about choice of GOP candidates

By Michael Logli

Voters appear to be divided between the different candidates of the same party after the results of the Florida primary Tuesday.

Even so, Republican groups on campus believe a clear front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination will be decided after next week’s Illinois primary.

College Republicans, a Registered Student Organization dedicated to supporting the party, has been working since last fall to educate others about Republican candidates. Though members do not support a specific candidate, they hope to try and eliminate the current stereotypes and misconceptions about the party.

“A lot of the candidates are similar in many ways, but they have one defining issue,” said Cody Skees, senior in ACES and external vice president of College Republicans.

College Republicans will have a booth out on the Quad on Monday, Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to give out more information to students about Republican candidates and to register people to vote.

Even though those registered on Monday will not be able to vote in the primary, Skees said they could vote in the general election.

College Republicans also helps other interest groups advertise their candidates. Illini for Rudy, a student-run group supporting former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, worked with the College Republicans to attend the primary in Iowa in support of Guiliani.

“He didn’t do a lot of campaigning there, and we wanted to go and let everyone know that he hadn’t forgotten about them,” said Matt Filter, senior in LAS and president of Illini for Rudy.

To increase support and knowledge about Guiliani, Illini for Rudy used phone banking, calling people at their home to generate interest, and holding outreach programs. They also have highly encouraged mail-in voting and have used voter tracking to determine what they believe to be a large amount of Guiliani support, Filter said.

“On campus, it’s severely divided between the Republicans, but I’d like to think we have the strongest base,” Filter said.

But on Wednesday, Rudy Guiliani dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. Filter said he talked to members of Illini for Rudy and after a vote, they decided to support Sen. John McCain instead. They are currently trying to get a new organization together in time for the primaries.

“We feel that we share a lot of the same principles and ideas with McCain,” Filter said.

Students for Ron Paul have tried many different tactics just to get information about their candidate out to the public, said Kestutis Daugirdas, senior in FAA and president of Students for Ron Paul.

Daugirdas said the group has chalked the Quad and spread flyers throughout the campus to try to clear up misconceptions about Paul’s campaign and get people aware of what issues he supports.

“The media sometimes portray him as not in that group with McCain or Romney,” Daugirdas said. “He could definitely use a boost.”

Students for Ron Paul plan to go full force for the last week before the primaries. Daugirdas said the group would begin a door-to-door campaign targeting the moderate and undecided people in the community. The group also plans to put up more fliers along the Quad.

“We’re reaching a point where people have heard of him at least,” Daugirdas said.