Political groups campaign for members

Liana Evrard

Students remain active after 2008

Kent State College Democrats and College Republicans are looking for ways to recruit new members in a year without the added appeal of a presidential election.

“It’s an uphill battle,” said Eric Allen, vice president of College Republicans, about getting people to join.

The College Republicans are focusing on winning over people of all parties who disagree with President Barack Obama’s policies, College Republicans president Joe Derkin said.

“It’s pretty obvious that there are a ton of conservatives (at Kent State), especially in the College of Business,” Allen said.

He added that College Republicans also hope to woo moderates and ‘Blue Dogs,’ fiscally conservative Democrats who are critical of the current administration.

“We kind of are a great net, if you will, to catch all of those people that are unhappy,” Derkin said.

Republicans are currently at an advantage despite losing last year’s presidential election, Derkin said. The party in power is always more visible and, therefore, easier to criticize.

College Democrats president Chadd Smith agreed.

“The minority party is always going to be the one who’s attacking constantly,” he said.

College Democrats political director Nick D’Amico said College Democrats plan to rely on Obama’s continuing popularity to increase its membership.

“People are still excited,” D’Amico said.

Smith said the problem College Democrats face is not one of support, but of action. With one of their own already in the White House and the next presidential election still three years away, some young Democrats believe their help is no longer needed.

“(To) keep people interested, that’s one of our main goals,” D’Amico said.

College Democrats are using social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook, to do just that, Smith said. He said he hopes to make participation easier for students who cannot attend every meeting.

In spite of their battle over the student population, the leaders of College Democrats and College Republicans get along surprisingly well.

“We’re trying to work together and build relationships,” Allen said.

“It wasn’t always that way,” Smith said, but he added, “I aggressively befriended people.”

In fact, the two organizations worked together last year to send Christmas care packages to soldiers. The leaders of both groups said they plan to work together in the future.

College Republicans meet at 9 p.m. Mondays in Student Center Room 318. College Democrats meet at 8 p.m. Wednesdays in the same room.

Contact student politics reporter Liana Evrard at [email protected].