Both former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas congressman Ron Paul declined their invitations to the March 1 presidential debate in Atlanta, which led CNN to cancel the event entirely.
Despite CNN cancelling what would have been a major event for the state, Georgia continues to prepare for its upcoming primary on March 6.
Georgia’s primary is just one of ten state primaries and caucuses scheduled for what is called “Super Tuesday.” On a single day, Super Tuesday, seven states will have their primaries’ and three will host caucuses.
Of the ten participating states, Georgia has the largest number of delegates to be awarded to the winning candidate, with 76. To claim the presidential candidacy for the Republican Party, one of the remaining four candidates must secure the majority, at least 1144 of the 2286 delegates, before the National Convention in August. With the constant realigning of Republican frontrunners so far this election season, every delegate counts.
Though Mitt Romney is still largely considered the front runner, former Pennsylvania congressman Rick Santorum has experienced another surge in popularity among conservative voters.
Santorum could potentially appeal to evangelical voters, but many suggest that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich could successfully secure Georgia, which he represented for 20 years. Justin Massey, chairman of KSU’s College Republicans, said Gingrich’s candidacy could be revitalized after Super Tuesday.
“I expect Gingrich to surge again after Tuesday’s primaries,” said Massey.
However, others would not rule out Rep. Paul. Support for Paul has waned in recent polling but he has still managed to inspire an entire movement of college voters, unlike previous Republican candidates.
“Paul is exciting an entire generation of supporters,” said Hans Schulzke, a Cherokee County coordinator for Paul’s Georgia campaign and founding member of Young Americans for Liberty at KSU.
Young Americans for Liberty is a non-partisan issues based organization that has 250 chapters at colleges across the nation. Students at KSU have made two previous attempts to form a chapter on campus over the past two years. According to Schulzke, this most recent attempt will likely obtain its official registered student organization status in March, around the same time voters around the state will be taking to the polls for the primary.
Districts throughout the state ready polling areas to match the 963,541 Republican voters that participated in the 2008 Georgia Primary. When asked if he would be present for his district’s voting on Super Tuesday, Massey declined with a slight grin.
“Unfortunately, the primary is during Spring Break,” said Massey, “But, I am casting my vote on an early ballot.”
Regardless of students’ plans, both Massey and Schulzke urge young Georgia voters to take part in the voting process. Polling centers throughout Georgia will open the morning of Super Tuesday, March 6, and remain in operation well into the evening to accommodate voters’ schedules. If students cannot return to their specific districts to vote, early voting and absentee ballots are available. Contact your specific voting district for further information.
If students are interested in getting involved, both College Republicans and Young Americans for Liberty welcome new members. To contact College Republicans for further information, visit their website at ksucr.org or email the club at email@example.com. To contact Young Americans for Liberty, email the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.