Feb 052008
Authors: Cece Wildeman

CSU students and Fort Collins residents crammed into Lory Student Center Tuesday night for the Republican caucus, a small example of the history-making turnout for Super Tuesday.

With more than 100 attendees, the caucus became chaotic, forcing caucus organizers to split the group into three separate groups.

“It’s overwhelming, but very rewarding to have so many people interested in the Republican Party and candidates,” said Andy Sleeper, district captain for Larimer County Republican Party.

Sleeper has helped organize the Republican caucus for about 20 years, he said. And Tuesday’s turnout — in room 208 — is the largest he’s ever seen, he said.

Talk about turnout and Romney win here.

While many older Fort Collins residents attended the caucus in the LSC, a small number of students could be found in the mix as well.

“I have a different voice than a lot of people my age because a lot of them are Democrats,” said Molly Ragsdale, a graduate student studying atmospheric sciences. “That means it is especially important for me to get involved.”

Max Welland, a sophomore English major, said he chose to caucus because the state of the nation needs to be improved.

“We’ve had a pretty sad eight years,” he said. “And if we don’t do something, it’s just going to get worse.”

Some students who attended the caucus on the CSU campus found it disappointing that more students didn’t show to support the Republican Party.

“(Students) are not traditionally involved, so candidates don’t care what we think because we don’t vote enough or have a big enough impact,” said Kevin O’Brien, a CSU graduate who studied liberal arts.

While no formal persuasive speeches were made, attendees were allowed to stand up and voice their presidential preference to the crowd.

“Leading America is difficult, and I know Ron Paul is the man for the job,” said one attendee in a statement to the crowd.

After the presidential preference poll, event organizers and leaders encouraged people to get more involved by volunteering with the Republican Party, including volunteering for county, state and national conventions.

Throughout the evening, conversation flourished as attendees discussed the upcoming election as well as local political issues.

“This is nice because this is how American politics were built,” said Charles Burnette, a senior political science major. “Just people in neighborhoods going out and talking about who to vote for.”

Senior Reporter Cece Wildeman and staff writer Edie Adams can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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