Political groups continue their mission

With the Wisconsin primary over, student groups supporting candidates in the November presidential election are working on getting their candidates' names recognized, getting voters to the polls and helping candidates from the same party in other November elections.

Marquette's Students for Dean, which supported former presidential hopeful Howard Dean, will soon concentrate its efforts on the re-election of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). Appropriately, the group will change its name to Students for Feingold, according to College of Arts & Sciences sophomore Ryan Alexander, the group's president.

Feingold is seeking re-election this year and faces four Republicans who are attempting to take his spot.

Alexander said the group will also be supporting College Democrats.

"Building a strong College Democrats is the only way to balance out the College Republicans in the long run," Alexander said. "Students for Dean was able to balance them out from September until now," but with Dean out of the race, there's no need for the group.

He said they will also lend support to getting voters to the polls on April 6 to elect Milwaukee's next mayor, as well as the 4th District alderman and judges for the court of appeals.

Students for Kerry, which supports current Democratic presidential candidate front-runner Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), also plans to support fellow Democrat and Kerry campaign staffer Matt Flynn in his race to claim the seat that will be vacated by U.S. Rep. Jerry Kleczka (D-Wis.), according to the group's president and College of Communication senior Megan Toal-Rossi.

Toal-Rossi said the group will also focus on "continuing to have (Kerry's) name out there, and let people know we're here and we will be here until November," which she said was a bit presumptuous.

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is perceived as Kerry's main competitor. However, Edwards does not have a student group supporting him on campus.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) does have a group on campus, which will be here until November as well, according to College of Arts & Sciences sophomore Michelle Pfister, co-chair of Students for Kucinich.

"Dennis will stay in the race till the end, so we will stay active," she said.

They also will continue working with Milwaukee for Kucinich, calling voters in other states whose primaries or caucuses have not passed to muster support. On the horizon, they're looking forward to protesting the war in Iraq at a day-long event planned for March 20.

Pfister said Jesuit Students Together in Concerned Empowerment group is planning to bring the protest, a world-wide event on the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the war, to campus.

"We'll try to get our group in there," Pfister said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton does not have a student group on campus supporting his campaign.

On the Republican side, a Students for Bush group will meet with the Office of Student Development later this week to discuss final approval, according to College of Arts & Sciences freshman Daniel Suhr, who would be the group's campus director if it is approved.

Suhr said an official statement of the group's formation would come in late March, along with a visit to campus by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Mike Duffy, the regional campaign director for Bush's re-election.

Duffy would talk about the campaign's "strategery," Suhr said, quoting Bush's mispronunciation of the word "strategy."

Suhr said the College Republicans, of which he is a part, have a strong base of support and he expects the support to spill over to a possible Students for Bush group. He said the group would focus on getting traditional Catholics who would respond to Bush's stance on pro-life issues and defending the "sanctity of marriage" — but who have grown up in Democratic households — to support the president.