Political groups feel heat
University Democrats, College Republicans discuss student voter engagement
Politically active University students continue to spearhead efforts to gear up for what will most likely be a close presidential election this November. At a University Democrats meeting Wednesday evening the group discussed its engagement efforts and welcomed State Sen. Mark Herring, D-Loudoun, to Grounds.
The University Democrats are now tasked with raising support among University students for President Barack Obama. The University Democrats have had more than 100 volunteers and have registered more than 2,500 students to vote in collaboration with Hoos for Obama, said University Democrats President James Schwab, a fourth-year College student.
“During move-in weekend alone we registered nearly a thousand UVA students,” Schwab said.
The University’s two prime partisan groups, however, disagree about how best to engage students politically. College Republicans Chair Matt Wertman, a third-year Architecture student, said in an email he thought the University Democrats lack support among the student body. He cited a University Democrats press release from Tuesday that recorded low turnout rates at some recent campaign events.
“The College Republicans have had over 100 volunteers,” Wertman said. He said his group has reached out to more than 40,000 voters.
“That number is even higher now because in the last two days we’ve managed to knock on almost every first-year dorm,” Wertman added.
About 35 students attended Wednesday’s University Democrats event, at which Herring fielded questions and concerns from students. He praised Obama’s efforts to expand access to higher education.
“The president has done a very good job understanding challenges students face with college tuition, and he knows how important higher education is for our economy and for 21st-century jobs,” he said.
Herring grew up in Loudoun County and attended the University’s undergraduate and graduate schools. He first ran for office in 1999 and won. He was elected to the State Senate in 2006. Herring has announced plans to run for Virginia attorney general in 2013.