After Arizona Democrats won races for governor, secretary of state, attorney general and a seat in the US Senate in November’s midterm elections, ASU’s college Republicans are resetting their targets.
Despite the Democrat victories in November, the Republican Party still controls both houses of the state legislature and plans to focus on educational and electoral issues this term. The strategy of ASUGOP and other conservative clubs at the university in response to the results of the midterm elections is to focus on specific issues and preserve the youth votes.
“Last semester was focused on the election,” said Isaac Humrich, a sophomore majoring in political science and president of the College Republicans at ASU. “This semester we decided that we want to focus more on the issues, on the politics.”
The Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics predicted that young voters would turn out in record numbers nationwide in the most recent election, with about 55% of 18-29 year olds favoring democratic control over having the most power in the Senate and gubernatorial races .
“The Republican Party has a problem with young people,” Humrich said. “It’s an issue that’s largely socially motivated.”
College Republicans at ASU and other Republican student clubs in Arizona are trying to reach out to younger voters through an initiative called Project Recharge, among other things. The group has no details on this plan or when it will be rolled out.
Other registered conservative clubs on campus such as the American Enterprise Institute, Young Americans for Liberty, and Turning Point USA each have a specific mission at ASU for a variety of conservative issues.
“Other conservative clubs… we would like to work with them,” said Humrich. “If they want to move an issue forward, we can see what we can do… Personally, I would be interested if they would like to have meetings together.”
In the Midterms, Arizona Democrats retained a seat in the Senate and the office of secretary of state while holding the offices of governor and attorney general. But Humrich said he doesn’t think Arizona has fundamentally changed.
“It’s still a purple state,” he said.
According to the Kennedy School, more than seven in ten young voters say they feel the rights of others are being violated, with 59% believing their own rights are being violated. Aware that young people constituted some of the votes that could affect midterm elections, many democratic organizations across the country sought to connect with a younger demographic.
“Democrats will prop up youth elections by focusing on social policy,” said Aj Valle, a nursing freshman and member of the national organization College Democrats of America.
“Democrats have a TikTok account and participate in trends,” Valle said. “By participating in the trends, they are immersing young people in what the Democratic Party stands for.”
As Democrats and Republicans become increasingly divided, some students find it difficult to identify with either party. Emily Mata, a freshman civil service and public policy student, is struggling to find a home in one of the two major political parties.
“Every party has negatives and positives, which is why I decided to register as an independent…I want the Democratic and Republican candidates to know that they have to earn my vote,” Mata said.
As all sides of the political spectrum prepare for the year ahead, young voters will continue to play an important role in shaping the state. College Republicans are putting their trust in Arizonans and young voters to create the Arizona they want.
“The people of Arizona trust the legislature to govern,” Humrich said.
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