College Democrats campaign for NJ governor

Forty GW College Democrats traveled to Bergen County, N.J. Saturday to campaign for Jon Corzine, the Democratic governor who is running for reelection this year.

The CDs canvassed and made calls in an attempt to gauge public opinion on the race. With the election coming up on Nov. 3, the Corzine campaign is attempting to win votes for a candidate who is currently neck-and-neck with conservative opponent Chris Christie.

“This close to the election, the point is to ID where voters stand, but sometimes you find people who are undecided and you really want to talk to them and try to convince them to vote for your candidate,” freshman Kaitlin Gaughran said.

New Jersey is one of the only states that has its gubernatorial election one year after the presidential contest. The CDs say they see it as their duty to help get Democratic candidates elected anywhere and everywhere.

“There’s a number of reasons why this race is important. Many people assign arbitrary value to these races and see this as a political referendum on the president,” Peter Weiss, president of the College Democrats, said.

“For the most part this isn’t true, but that is what is on the minds of voters so we want to make sure we experience victories. But the number one reason we’re here is that these are Democrats who are fighting for progressive values,” he added.

The volunteers went door-to-door on Saturday and Sunday for several hours in various neighborhoods despite unfavorable weather conditions, which included pouring rain on Sunday.

“Although the weather is dismal, my fervor to help reelect Governor Corzine remains steadfast,” freshman Naj Austin said.

The Corzine campaign used the CDs in neighborhoods that they otherwise would have been unable to hit due to a lack of volunteers in Bergen County.

“When you’re dealing with college students you don’t know what kind of group you’re going to get, but this group has been professional, they know what needs to get done on the campaign better than some of the local guys,” said Erin Caragher, a campaign worker who coordinated the CD excursion.

The Corzine campaign is running on a platform that focuses on the economy and the governor being the first in the nation to enact a stimulus plan after the financial crisis began. The campaign has also placed importance on the idea that President Obama needs a partner in New Jersey, and that Corzine’s election could mean more federal funding for state infrastructure projects.

The trip also offered an opportunity for new CD members to make connections within their organization.

“I support [Corzine’s] values and I thought it would be a good way to meet people too,” Freshman Phil Gardner said.

Other CD trips this year include weekly trips to Northern Virginia in support of gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, a trip to Norfolk, Va. with a coalition of CDs from schools in the DC area, and an excursion to College Park, Md. to support city council candidate Patrick Wojahn.

“Campaign trips are so fun… people have wild experiences so it just happens that people have fun and make new friends. It’s an added benefit that it helps create a sense of community,” Weiss said.

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