Unique candidates attract young voters

Many young Republican and Democratic students came out to vote in the 2008 Florida primary elections because in their opinion, the candidates were much stronger than in previous years.

Regina Mincberg, 20, a Democrat, said she has been with a group of friends campaigning for Barack Obama outside the courthouse since 7 a.m. She said choosing a candidate for which to vote depends on the political issues for which he or she stands.

“They all are pretty close on all their issues,” said Mincberg, a junior political science student at Florida State University from Washington D.C. “It all comes down to who you think is going to be the best candidate.”

Alexis McLaughlin, 21, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, said she normally is an Independent. However, she said she changed her party affiliation just to vote in the primary.

“I just felt strongly about the candidates,” said McLaughlin, a FSU art history student from Naples.

Christopher Weaver, 21, said the large amount of students that came out to vote in the Florida primaries was mainly because of the Democrat party having a woman and a black man running at the same time for the Democratic nomination. Although he is a registered Republican, Weaver acknowledged that the Democrats had stronger candidates than the Republicans.

“I felt that we (the Democratic party) had some good candidates as far as the frontrunners,” said Weaver, a junior criminal justice student from Pompano Beach. “(The Republican) party as a whole has been doing a terrible job over the past four years in Washington.”

Although Weaver is a Republican, he said he wants to support Obama in the general election. However, because the primary is party-affiliated, Weaver voted Republican to help ensure there would be a solid candidate to fall back on in case Obama loses the primary elections.

Weaver said he supports Obama’s campaign theme.

“I would vote for Barack Obama because his whole campaign attitude is about change. No other candidates are talking about change,” Weaver said. “I think he’s the one that would bring about change and change the direction the country is going in.”

Rachel Melson, 22, declared her affiliation with the Republican Party when she came to Florida A&M University her freshman year. Melson said her moral beliefs distinguished the candidate she voted for in the primaries.

“I’m very conservative. I look at things from a religious point of view,” said Melson, a graduate educational leadership student from Dayton, Ohio. “My dad’s a pastor. There are some issues I have to look at from a moral standpoint.”

Tunji Fadiora 18, a Democrat, said even though the Democratic party was penalized for moving the primary’s date, a lot of Democratic students came out to vote.

“I think students were fired up for Obama; that made them come to (the) primaries,” said Fadiora, a freshman pharmacy student from Tallahassee. “I would have never thought (about) voting for primaries about four years ago.”