Life And Thought

IU Republicans remain active through primary election

College GOP fundraises, prepares for campaign without named nominee


Rep. Todd Young, R-Bloomington, talks to students at the IU College Republicans fundraiser Saturday at BuffaLouie's. Young talked to constituents and helped the group raise money for upcoming campaigns. Charles Scudder Buy Photos

Because they support the whole party, they are not endorsing any state and national primary candidates, but instead are pooling resources and laying the foundation for the general election campaigns for later this year.

“In the fall, we’ll phone bank, door-to-door, but now we’re just trying to fundraise,” said Hilary Leighty, chair of the College Republicans.

They are fundraising to buy pizzas for phone bank volunteers and organizing meetings to prepare to hit the ground running when the GOP nominees are named.

“We are really building up our membership,” said Nick Espevik, tech director for the College Republicans. “We’re getting fundraisers to put money in our accounts.”

In the meantime, however, they have speakers and politicians visit their weekly meetings to help raise funds and educate members about GOP issues and candidates.

Leighty said the College Republicans are in communication with Union Board to organize a Republican primary debate between incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

“We like to make sure our members know their options,” Leighty said.

On Saturday, the College Republicans sponsored one of their spring fundraisers at BuffaLouie’s on Indiana Avenue.

They earned 15 percent from each diner who identified with the group.

It was equal parts fundraiser and opportunity for the club to garner name recognition and publicity.

Rep. Todd Young, R-9th District, appeared to help draw crowds for the young party members.

Young moved from table to table, talking to students and constituents about the important issues in Washington, D.C., and southern Indiana.

The crowd was just as diverse as the current party. Some wore shirts supporting Rep. Ron Paul’s, R-Texas, presidential campaign, and others had buttons for Mourdock’s senatorial campaign. Monroe County Commissioner candidate Nelson Shaffer shuffled through the room passing out business cards.

The conversation was about conservative ideals, questioning the identity of the party, Indiana Daily Student opinion columns and false libertarianism.

Espevik said the party has diverse views, but that the College Republicans will stand behind the nominee with full force.

“Just like the party, we have very diverse opinions about the primary candidates,” he said. “We definitely plan to remain a united group once we have a candidate.”

The College Republicans said they were happy with the showing and made sure to pass around a sign-up sheet to collect email addresses and contact information for future volunteer efforts.

“These guys weren’t here in 2010, but they’re excited this time around,” Leighty said to Young.

“Good,” Young said. “So you’re not jaded yet, huh?”

They laughed it off and thanked the students for their support. Young said the College Republicans were crucial in his election in 2010 and that he was happy to help out again.

“We’ll help you fundraise a little bit, help you buy some pizzas,” Young said with a laugh. “I know how it goes.”

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