About 20 members of the College Republicans will head to Delaware this weekend in a last-minute attempt to gather up support for the trailing Republican Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell.
O’Donnell currently trails her competitor by about 18 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. The tea party candidate has garnered a significant amount of negative press coverage for her controversial comments about “dabbling in witchcraft” and her opposition to masturbation.
To spark a stronger turnout for the canvassing trip, a message was sent over the CR’s e-mail listserv Monday night promising attendees “$50, free food, transportation, and lodging at a beautiful hotel in Delaware.”
The e-mail said the College Republicans were “DESPERATELY looking for people to sign up for the campaign trip” and that the student organization would receive $2,000 if it gathered 30 members to travel to Delaware. The emphasis was in the original e-mail.
CR Chairman Jake Wolf said he did not approve the e-mail and that the trip had more students set to attend than previous trips to Florida and Virginia.
“I don’t think we were quite desperate for volunteers, but we did want more members to go and we did send out a corrective message,” Wolf said.
Wolf added that a private donor – whose name he would not release – provided the monetary incentives, and that it is not uncommon for the CRs to offer these types of incentives on canvassing trips.
Neither the O’Donnell campaign, the Republican National Committee nor the National Republican Senatorial Committee returned a request for comment.
“This is not Christine O’Donnell’s campaign paying for the per diem, nor any other Delaware candidate,” Wolf said.
Sinead Casey, the director for public relations from the CRs, said the $50 is in the form of a gift card, not cash, and is intended for members to pay for costs accrued on the trip.
Casey added that O’Donnell is not the only candidate the CRs are campaigning for in Delaware. The group will be campaigning for Republican Congressional nominee Glen Urquhart and “and local Republican state candidates depending on the district.”
Josh Altman, president of the College Democrats, said his organization does not offer monetary incentives for its members to canvass, but the CDs will share information about opportunities for paid canvassing trips with its members.
While canvassing in Delaware, the CRs will try to appeal to the main issue on many American minds: the economy.
“This weekend, we’re focusing on establishing as much voter contact as possible because she really does need our help,” said Joanna Rodriguez, a freshman and CR member. “She isn’t my favorite Republican but she does have the same ideals that I support and I believe in.”