The presidential primary race is out of the gates after caucuses in Iowa and Wyoming and a primary in New Hampshire.
However for College Republicans and College Democrats at Miami University, the primary season is more of a waiting game and a time to become heavily involved as a group.
Neither organization will give an endorsement of a candidate until their party chooses its representative at the respective conventions. However, this does not mean that the groups have not been closely following the race, with some individuals working on their own for candidates.
“I think this is the most wide open race in a long time,” said College Republicans Chairman Chris Berry. “It’s who’s hot at the moment.”
Berry said that although he feels much of the momentum is with Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) currently, Mike Huckabee (R-Ark), Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) and Rudy Giuliani (R-N.Y.) all have a legitimate chance at the nomination.
“I think we will know our nominee shortly after Feb. 5,” Berry said on the importance of the Super Tuesday vote, in which over 20 states will hold their caucuses or primaries.
“With the argument of inevitability out the window, the election has now become a virtual dead heat between Senator (Barack) Obama and Senator (Hillary) Clinton, with Senator (John) Edwards still capable of affecting the outcome of the election,” said Aaron Turner, president of College Democrats.
With higher than usual numbers of voter turnout for the Democrats, Turner said there has been a central theme expressed by voters.
“The voters want change-all three of the candidates have incorporated this as a cornerstone of their campaign,” Turner said. “A change in the way politics is practiced, a change in the nation’s foreign policy, a change in the country’s domestic policy are all being voiced by the Democratic voters.”
Turner also commented on the incorrect predictions of several polls in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire.
“I was taught that polls are only as good as the moment they are cast and things can change very rapidly in politics,” Turner said.
Although both organizations are waiting for a nominee to start heavily campaigning, this has not stopped individual members from becoming involved. Berry said that a member of his group from Iowa went to caucus Jan. 3 and another member of his organization helped with a campaign in New Hampshire.
On the Democratic side, Turner encouraged his members to join a group such as Students for Barack Obama or Students for Hillary.
“Once a nominee is selected, we will work vigorously on his or her behalf to ensure a victory in November,” Turner said.
Berry remarked similarly, saying that he has been in contact with a couple campaigns trying to get them to make a stop on campus. He said Butler County, and southwest Ohio as a whole, will be a battleground area in November.
So far, Huckabee and Obama have won the Iowa caucus, Romney won the Wyoming caucus (their Democratic caucus will take place March 8) and McCain and Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. The primary in Michigan is taking place Jan. 15.