GOP primary attracts students, community

JEN RAINEY | Collegio Writer

Voters made their way to the Homer Cole Com- munity Center in Pittsburg on Saturday, March 10, to vote in the Crawford County Kansas Republican Presidential Nominating Process Caucus. Voters noticed others holding signs for different nominees in the parking lot. Those standing outside with signs were mainly supporting Ron Paul, but there were tables inside the center for supporters of each candidate.
“A lot of these candidates have a lot of values,” said Zach Sachs, senior in political science. “I was also glad to see Representative Terry Calloway here.”
Calloway, who is the Kansas House Third District Representative, spoke at the caucus about the importance of voting. While he didn’t endorse a specific candidate, he mentioned in his speech that he believed all candidates had good qualities.
“He cut a meeting short this morning to come here,” Sachs said. “Not many people in politics will cut a meeting short to be at another meeting.”
District Attorney Michael Gayoso also spoke at the event. He announced that he is running for another term. He also acknowledged Lori Fleming’s candidacy for 11th Judicial District Judge. Speeches were given by one community member per county on behalf of each nominee. The speeches began at 10 a.m. at each caucus location, and speakers had to be approved ahead of time through each candi- date’s campaign. That approval was then sent to the local Republican officials. Among the speakers was Kyle Barton who spoke on behalf of the Ron Paul campaign.
“I was really happy and excited to write this speech,” said Barton, junior in business manage- ment. “I was nervous, but to be able to personally convince a room full of people is great. You don’t
get a lot of opportunities to do that.” Barton says he spent five or six months doing
research and three or four hours writing the speech. He says he also spent about an hour and a half the morning of the caucus, revising and re-reading his speech.
Other speakers at the Crawford County caucus were residents, Rob Wood, who spoke on behalf of the Rick Santorum campaign; Roger Wood, who spoke on behalf of the Mitt Romney campaign and Jeffrey Lock who spoke on behalf of the Newt Gingrich campaign. Andrew Benage says he gave a speech on behalf of the Ron Paul campaign at the Linn/Bourbon County Caucus.
“The grassroots movement in my area isn’t as big as it is in Pittsburg,” said Benage, junior in com- munication. “So, to be able to represent Dr. Paul’s campaign by giving a 10-minute speech and reach- ing out to voters was an experience I really looked forward to.”
To help educate students on some of the can- didates running for office, the Pitt State College Republicans discussed the caucus at their weekly meeting on March 8. A representative of the Ron Paul campaign and a representative of the Newt Gin- grich campaign were both at the meeting to discuss each candidate’s stance on governmental issues.
Ashleigh Downes, vice president of the Pitt State College Republicans, says their goal was to spread information about the candidates.
“We want to inform people of what and who they’re voting for so they can make an adequate decision when voting,” said Downes, senior in soci- ology and justice studies.
No matter their candidate of choice, many voters who attended the caucus Saturday agreed that it’s important to vote.
“If people complain about who’s in office, I’ll ask them if they voted,” Sachs said. “And if they didn’t, then they have no reason to complain.”

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