Dems split and hit the campaign trail

Jenna Staul

Volunteers spend hours devoted to candidates; Republicans plan to stump for McCain

Today’s crucial presidential primary has Kent State College Republicans and College Democrats taking a decidedly different approach to stumping for their respective party’s candidates.

College Republicans have not yet hit the Kent State campaign trail for Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican party nominee, College Republicans president Stephen Ontko said.

“We aren’t involved in campaigning yet,” he said. “But we’re laying the groundwork to campaign for the general election.”

But for College Democrats, who are sharply split into Students for Clinton and Students for Obama groups, the race for the nomination is anything but over.

“Every week is more intense than the last,” said Curt Earich, a sophomore history and political science major who devotes much of his time to the Students for Obama group.

Joe Amato, a senior political science major and member of Students for Obama, estimates that he and the most dedicated members of the group have spent nearly 60 hours campaigning during the last week.

“If he (Barack Obama) can take the students at Kent State, he can take Portage County,” Amato said.

Though the College Democrats as a whole has not campaigned for the primary, the group’s opposing Obama and Clinton factions spent the eve of the primary canvassing the campus.

“I’m sure you’ve heard Bill Clinton say that Ohio is a must-win state,” said C.J. Williams, Students for Clinton president, who described his role in the organization as a full-time job. “When I think about what will happen if I don’t speak to that person (about Hillary Clinton) or if I don’t hand out that flier, it’s like that could be one less vote for her.”

Williams said he and the 10 other volunteers in his group spent time yesterday phone banking, fliering, hanging signs and handing out literature on behalf of Clinton.

“I go to bed around 4 a.m. and start to get calls from our field officer at around 7 a.m.,” Williams said of his daily schedule campaigning for Clinton. Still, he said, it’s worth it.

“I just feel strongly that she is the only candidate that can save us from what Bush has done,” Williams said.

Amato too feels the amount of time he has invested in campaigning for the primary was well spent.

“Barack asks for our free time and he gets all of it,” Amato said. “Our social lives have been amongst the people in the (Students for Barack Obama) group.”

Students for Barack Obama plans to have two information tables today, one in the Student Center and one in Bowman Hall. Members of the group said they will spend the day making case for Obama on campus.

Amato, for his part, is prepared to handle today’s election results, no matter what the outcome is.

“I won’t regret putting in all this time,” Amato said. “I’m not even going to be awake on Wednesday.”

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].