ARLINGTON, Va. – Hours before President-elect Barack Obama won Virginia by a slim margin, members of the College Democrats and College Republicans made their last push in the battleground state – fighting for votes one resident at a time.
Virginia, a commonwealth which last voted for a Democratic presidential nominee in 1964, went to Obama with a little more 50 percent of the popular vote. For the CDs, it was the tail end of a three-month campaign in North Carolina, Virginia and other swing states to inform Obama supporters about polling locations and encourage them to vote.
“This is really about telling people to get out and vote,” said senior Daniel Malin, while going door to door for Obama on Tuesday. “We are only going to Obama supporters today to try and get the numbers up at the polls.”
Several other CD members joined Malin as he canvassed in local neighborhoods. The event was sponsored by the Arlington Democratic Party.
“I’ve been canvassing for the past few days and I really do feel like we are making a significant difference,” Malin said.
The CDs also organized several phone banking opportunities for students in the campaign’s final few months, including a last-minute phone-banking session in the Marvin Center Tuesday.
Other CD members spent the day volunteering at Obama headquarters in Virginia, making signs and heading out into the commonwealth to stand on street corners.
“Should everything go well, I wanted to be able to say that I had a part in it,” said freshman Adam Courete, who stood outside with his Obama-Biden sign in Arlington on Tuesday.
College Republicans also campaigned heavily in three states on Election Day – Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. Sen. John McCain lost all three states.
The CRs had several members at the Republican National Headquarters in Arlington throughout the day to phone bank, sometimes between classes.
“Campaigning for John McCain has really been a long-term commitment, and this is just the final push,” said junior Dan Sadlosky, vice chairman of the CRs, on Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve been going out every weekend, and many of us have been canvassing and making phone calls to get votes for McCain since the summer. We know that Virginia is a major swing state we need to win.”
CR members said phone banking is the most efficient way to contact voters, which was the main goal of the Republicans during the final hours of campaigning.
Sophomore Tayler Lofquist, director of membership for the CRs, said, “Every contact with a voter increases their chances of voting, so every single contact is worthwhile because they at least start thinking about voting.”