While the College Democrats canvassed nationally for President Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the College Republicans focused their efforts more locally, campaigning two Queens locals: Dan Halloran in his failed bid for Congress, and Eric Ulrich, the Republican candidate for state Senate.
Greg Mitchell, president of the College Republicans of St. John’s, has been working to get these candidates elected, leading the club and listening to members on important decisions.
“As a club we are trying to both help build the Republican Party as a whole as well as build the club on campus, educate students on the issues and to promote conservatism,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell, who works for elected officials in Queens, has used his connections to help bring Republican speakers to St. John’s, including two members of Congress who are slated to come this year.
The College Republicans also supported Mitt Romney in yesterday’s presidential election. While Romney didn’t endear himself to some conservatives — who blamed him for President Obama’s reelection — in his campaign, Mitchell was not among them.
“I absolutely feel that Mitt Romney is the best candidate,” said Mitchell. “Even back to the beginning of the race when there were several Republican candidates, Mitt was always my choice. He is the one who is best for our country.”
Patrick Oberlies, a senior at St. John’s and a registered Republican in his home state of New Hampshire, is one of 212 people to “Like” the College Republicans of St. John’s University page on Facebook, and voted for Romney yesterday.
“I voted for Mitt Romney based on economic issues and foreign policy issues,” said Oberlies. “I feel like he’s definitely stronger on the economy and I don’t like what I see from countries overseas and how they look at America.”
While many universities throughout the nation lean to the left, politically, Mitchell feels that St. John’s is different.
“St. John’s isn’t a liberal institution like many other universities in our state and country are,” Mitchell stated. “It is our job as the College Republicans to help educate students on the issues. If they knew the sides to the issues I am confident they will realize they are more conservative.”
But it wasn’t just the College Republicans who campaigned for conservative candidates.
Led by Justin Alick, the College Libertarians of St. John’s were out getting their message across yesterday, although the average student might not know exactly what that message is.
“Because we have such a devotion to the principles of liberty, the College Libertarians believe in social tolerance and fiscal responsibility,” Alick said. “Libertarians believe in small government, minimizing coercion, maximizing voluntary decision-making and voluntary charity.”
The College Libertarians spent their day yesterday campaigning for their presidential candidate, Gary Johnson in his quixotic quest to get to 5 percent of the national popular vote.
“Political activism doesn’t escape us,” Alick said. “Today was Election Day and we campaigned our final conversation with a stranger and gave out our last palm card and now we are hoping for the best and watch the results.”
Some might be wondering why the Libertarians don’t simply choose one of the two more popular candidates, as they seem to be the only ones who stand a chance of winning.
But Caroline Zottl, a student at St. John’s and a member of the Libertarian party, doesn’t feel that either major candidate has earned her vote.
“I believe that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are incredibly similar,” explained Zottl. “Both support deficit spending, the Federal Reserve, the National Defense Authorization Act and Patriot Act, the war on drugs, unnecessary wars, and both support the Department of Education. I do not support either of the major candidates.”
Alick, a freshman, decided to get right to business upon matriculating at St. John’s, and started to College Libertarians of St. John’s right away.
“I knew starting a group was going to be difficult,” said Alick. “But I learned that St. John’s has many libertarians that are afraid to speak in fear of being criticized for their ‘supposedly insensitive views.’”
Alick pushed for Dan Halloran, a Republican who ran an unsuccessful bid for Congress, but explained that members of his group are split between the mainstream parties.
“The College Libertarians and I invited them and anyone else who wanted to share their views, regardless of their political views,” Alick said of his group. “I just want to get people talking to each other about their philosophies and maybe come to a decision.”