By Hanna Squire
Yesterday evening, the New Hampshire mini-term students were invited to attend a Mock-Caucus at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm’s College. The goal of the event was to see how Iowans vote for President through Democratic and Republican rules.
The event was non-partisan and was run by Saint Anselm College’s Young Democrats and Young Republicans in an effort to show that participation in democracy can help to keep America strong.
“This is the first time in the history of Saint Anselm’s that both clubs have come together,” said Drew Cyr, Chairman of Young Republicans and Senior at Saint Anselm’s College.
Union students were invited to the Mock-Caucus after attending a lecture at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. The lecture was led by Saint Anselm’s professors Jenn Lucas and Chris Galdieri, who originally suggested the event to the Chairmen of Young Democrats and Young Republicans.
Cyr and Theo Groh, the Chairman of Young Democrats and a junior at Saint Anselm College, began by introducing Lucas, who acted as Chairmen of both caucuses along with Galdieri. The professors explained the rules of Republican and Democratic Caucuses so that participants would know how to proceed.
The Institute of Politics asked representatives from each New Hampshire presidential campaign office to set up a space representing their candidates. There were tables for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Fred Karger. Michelle Bachmann, Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson had a bare table to themselves.
“Getting people to think about politics is great for both [Young Democrats and Young Republicans],” said Groh.
Fred Karger, the winner of Saint Anselm College’s Mock Straw Poll, made the opening remarks for this event. Karger has been a political consultant for over 30 years and has previously worked on President Gerald Ford and President George H.W. Bush’s campaigns as well as participated in the senior staff for President Ronald Reagan.
Karger explained that he is running for president because he is unhappy with the Republican Party. He said that he has been trying to get into the Iowan debate because he meets the criteria, but has still not succeeded. He concluded with his desire to see young people be able to vote at the age of 16 or 17, because he believes younger people should be involved in the political process.
“I love the fact that college Republicans and college Democrats are working hand in hand,” concluded Mr. Karger. ‘This is what it’s all about.’
The first caucus was by Republican Party rules, in which different precincts vote by secret ballot and tallies are reported to the chair. There is one round of voting and the results are not binding. The precincts were divided by Saint Anselm dormitories; the Union students were placed into the off-campus precinct.
The winner of this caucus was Huntsman with 19 votes, followed by Romney in second place with 9 votes, and Gingrich in third with 5 votes.
The second caucus was by Democratic Party rules, where each candidate needed 15% of the 47 participants to be considered viable. After the first round of voting ends, the non-viable candidate participants had a chance to vote again for a viable candidate.
This livelier caucus had chants and cheers from each section as students rallied for the viable candidates. Students cheered, “Join the Hunt!”, “Mitt, Mitt, Mitt!”, and “Gingrich, Gingrich!”
The winner for this caucus was once again Huntsman with 19 votes, Romney with 16 votes, and Gingrich with 8 votes. This caucus proved that having the ability to pick a second choice in the Democratic ruled caucus matters and affects the number of delegates a candidate receives.
“Being here in New Hampshire has allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in learning about the primary. This event tonight was an insightful and an educational glimpse into the upcoming Iowa caucus, and I learned the differences between the Republican- and Democrat-ruled caucuses,” said Danielle Steinmetz ’12.