MacGOP wins MN College Republicans chapter of the year

By Paul Lee

Macalester has a strong reputation for being dominated by liberal leaning stu­dents, many of whom support the Demo­cratic Party. The faculty recently voted to take a stance against the proposed Marriage and Voter ID Amendments in the state and most professors may be said to be liberal in their personal political views. But Macalester is also home to a small but highly active group of conservative activists. The Macalester College Repub­licans organization, better known as Mac­GOP, was awarded Chapter of the Year by the Minnesota College Republicans for the 2012-2013 academic year, a feat that can be attributed to a year of hard work and visible political activism. The title, which is awarded by the Ex­ecutive Council of the Minnesota College Republicans, is given to a College Repub­licans chapter across the state every year and is used to recognize an organization’s continued excellence or, for some organi­zations, a re-energized chapter. “We bring a different dialogue, a breath of fresh air, difference perspectives and we bring something new,” said Mac­GOP co-chair Andrew Ojeda ’14. MacGOP was granted the award for its activity on campus in a variety of ways, from inviting such as Hans Anderson, then the Republican candidate for Mayor of Bloomington, to organizing for various Republican campaigns ranging from local races to the Presidential election. “We always had more people at events than other schools,” said Ryan Daly, co-chair of MacGOP. One of MacGOP’s proudest campus events last year was when the org spon­sored a “Free Speech wall,” which was located between the library and Bateman Plaza, for Constitution Day. The organization also had a “Re­distribution of Grades Protest,” which was inspired by a lecture from a profes­sor who compared the redistribution of wealth ideology to a redistribution of grades from the students with the highest grades to the students with lower grades. The argument was that the redistri­bution of wealth should be perceived as equally unfair as the redistribution of grades. MacGOP also released press releases to news outlets in an effort to gain greater publicity for its events. All of these efforts to establish the org’s pres­ence on campus were what ultimately contributed to MacGOP’s recognition from the larger state organization. Mac’s student Republicans have also been active in the larger St. Paul and Minnesota community. The organization has had its members help out on local races and been instrumental in the recent Republican presidential primaries. “You may not see us on campus, but we are active in other ways, includ­ing helping out on campaigns that we choose,” Daly said. Because the state of Minnesota does not have a presidential primary like many other states, candidates are required to build a grassroot base of sup­port in order to earn Minnesota Republican delegates. Many of MacGOP’s members were active in this process and some were tapped to be delegates for Presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. This was possible because MacGOP had members who attended local caucuses at a nearby el­ementary school and gradually made their way up the political ladder. MacGOP’s biggest feat this year has been the political success of one of its own members, Andrew Ojeda ’14, who is running for State Representative in 64A. Compared to the Democratic student organization on campus, Daly feels that MacGOP’s smaller size means easier access to and impact on local poli­tics. “The sheer quantity of [students in] MacDems means that they don’t have a higher ability to interact with candidates,” he said. “MacGOP [members] can interact with GOP Senate and Presidential candidates.” For this election season MacGOP is busy working on a variety of cam­paigns—local and residential—and hopes to continue its work in advancing the conservative and Republican cause. Compared with neighboring University of St. Thomas, which has a large­ly conservative student population and an active College Republicans chapter, MacGOP still holds its weight against larger schools. “Mac is more active than the University of Minnesota,” Daly said. “We’re more active per capita, which makes the difference.” refresh –>