One week ahead of next Tuesday’s mid-term election, College Democrats and Republicans are ramping up their already vigorous campaigns.
Both parties are working most enthusiastically in efforts to tip the neck-and-neck Tennessee U.S. Senate race in their favor. Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. is in a tight race with Republican former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker.
“The big race we’re focusing on right now is the (U.S. Senate race),” said Jacob Shorter, president of UTM College Republicans. “I’m feeling much better about that race now than in the past few weeks. In the end, I feel we’ll pull it off.”
College Democrats President Chris Bell agreed the U.S. Senate race is consuming most of his organization’s time too.
“We’re really working hard to support Ford,” Bell said. “We’re cautiously optimistic about the Senate race. The polls have been running within the margin of error.”
This week, Republicans plan to perform phone banking in Weakley County. They will be calling local registered Republicans and urging them to vote Nov. 7. Additionally, College Republicans will man a table outside the UC reminding students to vote and will perform door-to-door canvassing in dorms.
Bell said College Democrats will make a literature drop in dorms before Tuesday’s election, as well as attend a rally in Memphis headlined by former President Bill Clinton and Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr.
For Republicans, national security, family values and the benefits of tax cuts have been the primary talking points among UTM students, Shorter said.
Bell said College Democrats have been stressing the bungled war in Iraq, tax cuts “for the rich” and college affordability.
Shorter said the Amendment 1 ballot initiative, which would, if passed, finalize a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, would help Republican voter turnout.
But Bell said he does not think the ballot initiative will hurt the Democrats’ chances of winning the Senate race.
“There’s not a single Democrat running around here who supports gay marriage,” Bell said. “We think things like the minimum wage and repealing these tax cuts for the rich are bigger issues than gay marriage.”