UK student political groups preparing for election

By Brian Hancock

With Nov. 2 quickly approaching, UK’s student political organizations are making last-ditch efforts in order to give their candidates one last push before election day.

UK College Republicans and Cats for Conway are two major political groups on campus, and both are fighting for every last vote with less than a week to go.

“We’re running a big ‘get out and vote’ campaign,” said political science junior Matthew McGrail, a member of Cats for Conway. “Basically, we want every Democrat in the city of Lexington to come out and vote.”

“All groups will be out this weekend for the 72-hour push,” said political science and international studies sophomore Brian Rose, chairman of UK College Republicans. “We’re just pushing for people to get out and vote.”

Phone banking and door-to-door knocking will be the primary ammunition for these groups, as they try to increase their number of volunteers for a final stand.

“We have students in the office everyday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. making calls,” said economics and business senior Tim Pearce, a co-chairman of Cats for Conway.

“In four hours one door knocker can hit up fifty houses,” Pearce said. “Last Saturday we had 70-80 door knockers.”

His organization plans to have even more volunteers this weekend, as over 100 students have already signed up to canvass at some point Saturday through next Tuesday.

Both organizations operate out of their respective party’s local headquarters. Cats for Conway is stationed at the Fayette County Democratic Party Headquarters on South Broadway, and UK College Republicans base their efforts out of the Fayette Victory Office on South McPherson Church Road.

In addition to the usual campaigning, each organization has several other tactics they plan to employ to attract last-minute voters before next Tuesday.

College Republicans has planned a marquee event on Friday, as Aaron Schock, the youngest United States congressman, will speak outside the Main Building at noon. U.S. congressional candidate Andy Barr, who is running for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, will also speak at the forum. Barr is currently in a tightly-contested election with current U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler. The event is sponsored by the UK College Republicans and Student Government.

Cats for Conway is in the process of setting up meetings with several student organizations on campus in order to reach out to a few more potential voters.

“We’re just trying to hit up people who might still be on the fence,” Pearce said.

Both organizations have had the goal of getting students excited and involved on campus. By attracting high-profile speakers like Schock and former President Bill Clinton in recent weeks, UK students have been able to witness the excitement of the upcoming elections firsthand.

“We just want individuals to get out and vote,” Rose said.