Campus political parties focus on statewide matters

By Taylor Inman, Staff writer

The primaries ended with the summer and with it came changes to the election. But what changes have been happening with the student-run political groups on campus?

The College Democrats and College Republicans get a lot of attention when it comes to the presidential election, with both groups growing in member size around election years. But they spend the bulk of their time being involved with the statewide elections, which get far less of the spotlight.

Savannah Futrell, president of the College Republicans, said her group can find more opportunities in the statewide elections compared to the presidential race.

“As a whole, more of our members would rather be involved with the Kentucky election than the presidential election,” Futrell said. “But I think that’s because there’s not a lot we can do very directly for the presidential election.”

Allison Prokop, vice president of the College Democrats, said they are about to devote their time to campaigning.

“The Democrats plan to help David Ramey. He’s running for state House of Representatives,” Prokop said. “A few of us will be volunteering to canvas for him. We do a lot of work on the local level, but we get the most attention about the national-level stuff.”

But make no mistake, even though they devote time to the statewide election, the groups make sure they’re all on the same page about the presidential election, despite the idea that some of their members might not agree with the candidate that their party chose.

“We have a few members that are not going to support him, but that’s what makes us diverse,” Futrell said. “I want us to support our Republican candidate, but there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t share the exact same views.”

Futrell said it is her job to make sure Murray State’s chapter supports their candidate.

“It’s my goal as the president to make sure we support the Republican candidate as a chapter,” Futrell said. “But there are members who, on their own time, don’t have to support Donald Trump if they don’t want to. I’m not going to push them to do that on their personal time.”

On the Democrat side, one will find no “Bernie or Bust” people, a term given by the media to describe those who supported Sanders in the primaries and refuse to support Clinton in the main presidential election. 

“Most people are open to vote for someone else because he became such an instrumental part in the platform that his views have become the Democrats views,” Prokop said.

Murray State had a “Racers for Bernie” group last semester that was larger in size than the College Democrats and College Republicans, according to numbers on their social media pages. But since the Vermont Senator has dropped out of the race, the group ceased to exist.

Brandon Simpson was the president of “Racers for Bernie” and said where exactly all of those people went after Sanders dropped out of the race.

“Most of our members were already involved in other organizations, especially the campus Democrats,” Simpson said. “I think most of the students we had will still vote for another candidate, but some were ‘Bernie or Bust.’”

Students will be able to see the College Democrats and College Republicans in the upcoming weeks around campus. They will soon be investing their time in booths that help students register to vote.

“We just want to make our campus a registered campus,” Futrell said. “We just want people to get out and vote.”