The GW College Democrats and College Republicans eagerly awaited results of the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections Tuesday night after months of campaigning, but in the end it was only the young GOPers who had reason to party.
Both groups held separate election night parties in the Marvin Center to watch election results come in. Republicans Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie took the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections, respectively.
While the CRs celebrated in Columbian Square, CDs groaned with disappointment two floors above in the Continental Ballroom, as TV news and blogs continued to put out numbers showing the Republicans leading in the two major contests.
“It was a great feeling for there to be a Republican victory again,” said CR Chairman Brandon Hines, a senior. “I think it says a lot about how far we’ve come from just a year ago when you had Barack Obama winning [in Virginia] by seven points.”
But for the CDs, even activities like pin the tail on the donkey couldn’t keep their spirits up.
“There are good days and there are bad days,” said sophomore CD member Alex Wright. “And today was just a bad day.”
Both political groups had been involved in campaigning for the candidates. Each took overnight trips to New Jersey and Virginia and participated in weekend canvasses in the nearby Virginia area. A handful of CDs were still campaigning feverishly on election night in Virginia.
Both student groups claimed to have reached out to tens of thousands of voters in their volunteering efforts.
With the 2009 election season over, both organizations are now shifting focus to policy issues as well as preparations for elections next year, student leaders said.
The new CR agenda will focus on supporting conservative policy issues on the economy and health care as well as support for troops. The CRs will also be looking to continue strengthening membership on campus.
Similarly, the CDs are planning on lobbying Capitol Hill in support of health care reform, climate change legislation and other issues in support of President Obama’s agenda.
Unsurprisingly, the CRs and CDs disagree on the significance of the election results and what it means for the future.
“I think this is going to be a really important election that foreshadows more Republican victories to come if the Democrats don’t shape up,” Hines said.
Senior Peter Weiss, president of the CDs, sees things differently.
“These losses were in no way a referendum on President Obama,” he said. “These were distinct races with a unique set of candidates and issues.”
In the meantime, it looks like these political groups will continue the fight against one another both at GW and on Capitol Hill.