Tufts Republicans gear up for senate election
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 07:11
Throughout the semester, Tufts Republicans has been primarily focusing their outreach on the Scott Brown (R−Mass, LA ’81) senatorial campaign rather than the presidential election, on−campus and beyond.
Following the effective dissolution of the group in May, junior Bennett Gillogly said he assumed leadership as co−president of Tufts Republicans and began to re−focus the group’s efforts. His personal participation in the Scott Brown campaign inspired him to carry the campaign activities over to campus through Tufts Republicans.
“As a result of me kind of being in charge ... Tufts Republicans just completely focused on the Scott Brown re−election campaign, and that began from the first time we went to the activities fair through a couple general interest meetings that took place in the beginning part of the semester,” Gillogly said. “We had members from the campaign come and talk to us about their role, talk to us about a campaign, talk to us about this particular election here in Massachusetts.”
As Brown’s re−election is at the forefront of the group’s activities this semester, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has not been a priority, Gillogly said.
With a small group of between 10 and 12 students and the many opportunities afforded by some members’ involvement with the Scott Brown campaign, the senatorial focus made the most sense, according to Tufts Republicans executive board member Ellie Monroe, a sophomore.
“We had more opportunities for the club if we focused more on Scott Brown,” Monroe said. “It’s not to diminish Romney at all. It’s just that we’re a small club, and we have to prioritize.”
Gillogly reiterated Monroe’s sentiments, explaining that they chose to campaign for the senatorial candidate rather than Romney due to both limited resources and the group’s location on the political spectrum.
“We made the decision that we could gain support from more people if we were to represent the same political beliefs as Senator Brown,” he said. “We are moderate Republicans who view compromise and bipartisan problem solving as two of the greatest virtues a politician can have. Like a lot of our generation, we are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”
Before the semester began, not all students involved in Tufts Republicans were necessarily passionate about the Brown campaign, according to Gillogly.
“[The students] that have become the most active members are people who had previously been unfamiliar with Senator Brown’s policies, his politics and his story and the narrative of Massachusetts politics. It wasn’t something they felt particularly strong about,” Gillogly said. “Most of the turnout we’ve gotten has just been politically−inclined Republican students looking to make their presence known on campus.”
Students worked on raising grassroots awareness and support for Brown throughout the semester, according to Gillogly.
Tufts Republicans has been working with Students for Scott Brown, a coalition working at universities across Massachusetts, according to junior Marshall Hochhauser, co−chair of Students for Scott Brown.
“It’s an opportunity for students to see a campaign firsthand, be part of the literal buzz that surrounds the campaign headquarters, especially this late in the election, and get an opportunity to help out in this pivotal election,” Gillogly said.
The group has also been increasing their on−campus visibility and outreach this semester by tabling at lectures, presidential debate screenings and the election panel, Monroe said. Most student interest has come from Massachusetts voters looking to learn more about the candidate, she added.
“It’s very hard to spark a lot of interest ... but we’re trying,” Monroe said. “Any opportunity we’ve had to put up a table, we’ve been handing out Scott Brown paraphernalia.”
The group has also looked to expand their social media presence, and the group’s Facebook page has almost doubled its “likes” this year, according to Gillogly.
“I have had a lot of people approach me because of the Facebook page because on it we put an emphasis on Senator Brown’s bipartisan appeal,” Gillogly said. “[We’ve] kind of used that as a way to let students at Tufts know that Tufts Republicans is not conservative by any means, but it’s really more of an inclusive group wherever you may be on the political spectrum.”
Tufts Republicans will take part in the Election Night Extravaganza in the Mayer Campus Center, run by the Experimental College. Starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight, the event will feature discussion between Tufts Democrats and Tufts Republicans.