New Republican student group campaigns for U.S. Senate candidates

Media Credit: Meredith Roaten | Hatchet Photographer

Alex Fried, a sophomore and the co-creator of the Save Our Senate group, phone banks for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The group is focused on electing Republicans to U.S. Senate seats.

A new student group wants to elect more Republicans to the U.S. Senate.

Sophomores Alex Fried and Michael Battiato said they created Save Our Senate this month to create a campus group dedicated to organizing campaign events for Republican Senate candidates. The group will focus on congressional races during an already contentious presidential election, Fried and Battiato said.

Save Our Senate was officially recognized as a student organization earlier this month and has already hosted phone banking events for Republican senators who are up for re-election, Battiato and Fried said. The group is supporting candidates like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

“It’s been really cool because these are the senators who have consistently worked to make D.C. less divisive and the senators whose elections could decide the majority,” Fried said.

Fried, the president of Save our Senate, said because Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is controversial, it’s important for Republicans to focus on getting members of Congress re-elected. The GW College Republicans said they are staying neutral on Trump and also are planning to campaign for candidates seeking other offices.

“We can sit around and talk about how much the conservative message means all we want, but until we see it in practice, nothing can be done,” Fried said. “The conservative message won’t matter if come January we have a liberal president and a liberal legislative body.”

Fried worked with Toomey this summer and is organizing a trip to Philadelphia’s suburbs, where the group will campaign door-to-door for the senator’s reelection. The area surrounding Philadelphia is key in deciding whether or not Toomey will keep his seat, Fried added.

Battiato, the group’s vice president and the former membership and resources chair for GW Students for Rubio, said the two originally advertised the organization by word of mouth prior to the student organization fair. More than 250 people signed up for the group’s email Listserv during the fair, Battiato said.

He said that students can be important players in deciding Senate elections if they are active in campaigning.

“My goal for this organization is to get as many people on this campus involved in efforts to save the majority of the Senate because as students we have a unique opportunity to help,” Battiato said.

Save Our Senate has attended three phone banking events at the National Republican Senatorial Committee over the past two weeks, the first of which was for Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., who is running for a Senate seat, Battiato said. Seventeen of the group’s members attended the phone banking event.

“We thought 17 people was a pretty good turnout, but when we arrived at the event, we literally doubled the room,” Battiato said. “The other volunteers and staffers were really impressed at how quickly we could mobilize.”

Austin Hansen, the chairman of the GW College Republicans, said he and other members of his group are excited to work with another conservative group on campus.

“We have already started partnering with Save our Senate and look forward to continue expanding on opportunities for conservatives on campus together,” Hansen said.

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