Maybe nothing brings Penn students together like the promise of free food and the opportunity to participate in political discussions. Last Tuesday evening, both the College Republicans and the Penn College Democrats held informal meetings open to anyone interested in the upcoming presidential and senatorial races. The College Republicans met in the main lounge of Harnwell College House for their bi-weekly "Pizza and Politics" function, which coincided with the GOP primaries in Virginia, Washington and North Dakota -- all of which were won by the frontrunner, Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Still, watching the returns of the primaries on television was not the only thing on the agenda. Instead, the question of the hour for the divided College Republicans was whether to support Bush or Arizona Sen. John McCain, who received an added boost two weeks ago when he won the Arizona and Michigan primaries on the same day. Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, with 13 states -- including New York, California and Ohio -- holding their primaries. College senior Dahlia Morrone, who is not a registered Republican but came to the meeting because she is "interested in the presidential race," said she believed McCain "appeals to college students and a more diverse group." Vice Chairwoman of the College Republicans Marion Huie, a College senior, said many may side with McCain because "he's an underdog." She said she feels some perceive that, "Bush stands for the Republican machine." For the most part, though, there was excitement over finally having a heated race for the Republican nomination. "Who could have imagined back in August that we would have a race now?" Wharton sophomore Adrian Jones asked. "We've never had two candidates who were so viable," he added. Toward the other end of campus at the Quadrangle's McClelland Hall, the Penn College Democrats offered not food but an actual candidate in the upcoming senatorial primaries in Pennsylvania. Bob Rovner, former state senator and Bucks County lawyer, joined seven students for an informal discussion of his campaign. Rovner is hoping to do well in the April 4 primary election against several other Democrats vying for the chance to face off with freshman Sen. Rick Santorum. The issues he stressed included women's rights and abortion. In terms of the presidential race, Rovner said he supports Vice President Al Gore, but feels a ticket featuring both Gore and former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley would be very strong. "I see a lot of good people working for Bradley," he said. The Penn College Democrats have been hosting many candidates from the upcoming primaries, but club officer Max Cantor, a College freshman, said that the group is "100 percent impartial." "Apathy is going down amongst Penn students," Cantor said, pointing specifically to the recent sit-in of University President Judith Rodin's office by Penn Students Against Sweatshops. Though there were not many substantive issues that the two political groups could have agreed upon Wednesday evening, Cantor said he thinks the two organizations succeeded in unifying for the purpose of voter awareness.Comments powered by Disqus
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