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Political clubs prep for fall campaigns

by EMILY SCHRANK | Monday, September 20, 2010


As the country gears up for mid-term elections in November, the College Democrats and College Republicans of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are making preparations of their own.  
“We’re fired up and ready to go,” Northern Indiana College Democrats (NICD) Chair Colleen Lowry said.  “We have more than 3,000 people in the area working harder than ever on these campaigns.” 
NICD, which includes students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, Indiana University South Bend, Ivy Tech Community College and Bethel College, recently set up a campaign headquarters on South Bend Avenue, said Lowry, a senior at Saint Mary’s.  
“It’s really close to campus, so students can walk or ride their bikes,” she said.  “The headquarters is College Democrats-run and the entire community participates, so it’s very collaborative.”
Lowry said NICD is sharing the space with St. Joseph’s County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, who is seeking reelection in November.   
“We’re really just focusing on campaigning for candidates in northern Indiana,” she said.  “We want to bring awareness to their campaigns and get our name out there as well.”
NICD will hold phone banks Monday through Thursday each week up until elections and will also canvas around neighborhoods on Sundays, Lowry said. 
Senior Josh Varanelli, president of the Notre Dame College Republicans, said his organization is keeping its efforts on campus.  
“We were considering door to door campaigning, but it just didn’t seem feasible,” he said.  “Our big focus this election is on increased voter registration among students, as well as phone banking for swing states.”
Varanelli said he wants the group’s work to make maximum impact. 
“This year, we’ve developed a campaign committee designed to research candidates and determine where Notre Dame students can be most efficient,” he said.  “We really want to maximize our effectiveness.”  
College Republicans will run phone banks every Thursday and Friday until the elections are over, Varanelli said. 
The Notre Dame College Republicans are supporting Dan Coats for United States Senate and Jackie Walorski for Congress.
Meanwhile, NICD is working to support Dvorak, Congressman Joe Donnelly, Rosemary Mandrici for St. Joseph’s County Assessor and Dwight Fish for Indiana State Representative in District 21.   
Both the College Republicans and College Democrats will sponsor ND Votes, a campus-wide bi-partisan voter registration drive that is scheduled to begin Tuesday.