Democratic and Republican clubs maintain neutrality in primary races

As midterm election season approaches, ASU’s Young Democrats and ASU’s College Republicans are not endorsing primary candidates in an effort to maintain cohesion in their ranks.

Throughout the semester, both organizations invited candidates vying for different positions to speak to students. Yet the clubs choose to maintain their longstanding policy of neutrality in the primary elections.

Organizations do this in order not to cause indecision within the organization if members are split on who to endorse and hinder their November goals by potentially endorsing a candidate who does not win the primary.

Clay Robinson, vice president of College Republicans, said in an email: “Our policy of primary neutrality is a constitutional provision that was implemented long before my time.

This policy is reflected in Article II of the club’s constitution, which states that the club’s mission is to “support the platforms, issues and candidates of the Republican Party” in order to “assist in the election of candidates Republicans to public offices of the State”. of Arizona, the United States Congress and the executive branch of the United States.”

“ASU’s College Republicans primary goal is to grow a party under one big tent on campus and by endorsing primary elections, we have the opportunity to isolate students who might support another candidate,” said Robinson in the email.

Robinson, a junior majoring in civic and economic thought and leadership, innovation in society and political science, said in the email that the focus on intra-party unity is driven by another his club’s core mission, which is “not to divide but to unite, is what we do when we race to elect Republicans from top to bottom in general election cycles,” Robinson said. in the email.

The ASU Young Democrats club constitution does not set out specific policies regarding local, state, or national elections, but the club has taken a position of neutrality for primary candidates for many years.

Young Democrats chairwoman Sahara Sajjadiankhah echoed sentiments similar to those of her Republican counterpart.

“Supporting candidates as a club can also make members feel isolated and unwanted, as our club is meant to serve as a safe space for all Democrats,” Sajjadiankhah, a political science student, said in an email. -mail. “Staying out of the primaries allows members to support their own candidates without feeling pressured by us.”

Terence Chau, a senior sociology student and active member of the College Republicans, said in an email that it was in the club’s interest to remain impartial in the primary election because they “unite as College Republicans, and not as students for some candidates”.

“We would welcome applicants as speakers to inform our fellow members,” Chau said in an email. “But each of us has unique perspectives and preferences on Republicans. So, we never endorse any candidate as a club. I think that’s the beauty of this community.”

These dual policies also prevent organizations from endorsing a candidate who loses the primary.

Sajjadiankhah said in an email “(it) keeps politics from getting too messy, let’s say if we back someone they lose, and now there’s a tension between the candidate we didn’t back and our club”.

No club is is looking to change its neutrality policy anytime soon. Both clubs are determined to provide cohesion and focus on winning the election rather than risk getting bogged down in endorsing a primary candidate.

Robinson said in an email “at this time there is no consideration to repeal our primary neutral constitutional provision.”

Still, the Young Democrats are open to possible change in the future.

“There is always room for growth and change, and if there is a race that we feel is necessary to endorse, it is possible that we endorse the candidate as a club,” Sajjadiankhah said in a statement. E-mail.


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Marc Habelt political journalist

Mark Habelt covers all things politics in the ASU and Tempe communities. He can be reached anytime at [email protected] Please send your comments, questions or story ideas to this email address, as Mark is always interested in discussing local issues.


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