Hundreds of students gathered in two Marvin Center ballrooms Tuesday night to watch the election returns and cheer in support of their favored candidates. Democratic students split their support between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the lead candidate on the Republican side was John McCain.
“Youth came out in big numbers and they are spending their Tuesday night here instead of in the library or at McFadden’s. That says something,” said Saumya Narechania, director of GW Students for Obama.
The GW College Democrats, the GW College Republicans and the Student Association sponsored the Super Tuesday watch parties, which included TV-watching, Obama face painting, Blogger’s Alley, a map with Obama and Clinton heads, food and balloons. The CDs drew between 300 to 400 people, nearly six times the number of people that attended the CR event.
“The level of interest on both sides shows that people are ready to move on, chose an appointee and end the Bush administration,” said Ora Sdogos, a sophomore CD member.
“For the size of our organization and the representation of Republicans at GW as a whole, we’ve had a good turnout,” said senior Chris Brooks, CR chairman.
CRs have 250 paying members and CDs have 2,123 dues-paying members. Tanya Choudhury, president of the CDs, said they had been planning their Super Tuesday party since May 2007.
When each state’s election results came in, the CDs began screaming the name of the person who won the state, broke into a “Yes we can, Yes we can” chant and pumped their fists.
SA Sen. Elliot Bell-Krasner (CCAS-U) said he voted for Obama because he is rejuvenating the party.
“I went to the Obama camp because we need someone who can reach out to our generation,” Bell-Krasner said. “Obama has so many college-age supporters because he is a breath of fresh air from establishment politics, i.e. the Clintons or the Romneys. He is something new.”
The atmosphere in the CR room was more private and sedate. Amid finger foods and refreshments, Republicans debated candidate issues privately at each table.
“I stopped going to CR events at the end of my freshman year,” senior Clay Socha said. “But I came here tonight to debate because if McCain gets the nomination I might as well vote for the Democratic nominee; McCain isn’t a conservative Republican. In my opinion Ron Paul represents what the Republican Party used to be: small government, non-intervention foreign policy and a healthy economy with no deficits.”
Freshman Andrew Moore said he came to the Super Tuesday festivities to see how people would react to the returns.
“I came to see the results and people’s reactions, and Huckabee feels the same way I do on most issues,” Moore said. “He hasn’t changed positions on certain policies like other candidates. He is a true conservative.”
Sophomore Matt Oczkowski said the party was his first CD event.
He said, “I just wanted to watch it with other Democrats. I am surprised by the big turnout, but then again, it is the biggest day of the school year.”