Temple Democrats said they are eager to cast their ballots as they anticipate major Democratic gains in the U.S. Congress.
“I’m so excited,” said junior Deborah Hinchey, president of the Temple University College Democrats. “It’s an exciting time to be a young voter. It’s an exciting time to be a Democrat.”
Hinchey, a political science major, said she believes Democrats “have a great shot at taking back the [U.S.] House, a great shot at taking back the [U.S.] Senate and a great shot at winning a lot of governorships.”
Hinchey made it clear she wants the Democrats to take over Congress to “change the course” of the Republican-led legislature, but another College Democrat used more blunt language than Hinchey to get that message across.
“I want the Republicans out,” said College Democrat member Vicki Moore. Moore, a junior double majoring in women’s studies and history, voters need to kick out Republicans because, she said, the GOP is detrimental to the country.
“I just don’t feel like they’re representing the interests of most Americans,” Moore said, referring to Republicans. “I think things are going more downhill the longer they are in office.”
Assaf Holtzman, a senior political science major who served as president of the Temple University College Democrats from 2003 to ’05, said the major election issue is the Iraq war – an issue he said is disadvantageous to Republicans.
“The Iraq war is huge,” Holtzman said. “It’s funny, because the Iraq war and security” was the GOP’s main issue in 2004, “and now they’re trying to run away from that and focus on the economy.
“I think a lot of people are voting on Iraq, and the people don’t like what they see.” Hinchey concurred. “It’s all about the war,” she said.
More than 2,800 U.S. troops died in Iraq and nearly 21,000 have been wounded in that country since the war began in March 2003.
The Iraq war, Holtzman said, has shredded
President George W. Bush and his Republican
“I think they lost a lot of legitimacy when the Iraq war began,” he said. “They lost legitimacy not just in America, but around the world.”
Holtzman wasn’t as confident as Hinchey in terms of how successful he thought Democrats would be in this election. He said he thinks Democrats will fall short of capturing the Senate, but he said he expects the Republican majority to be trimmed in that chamber.
In terms of the lower chamber, “I think us, as Democrats, have a great chance at taking over the House.”
Republicans currently hold a 229-201 majority over Democrats in the U.S. House and a 55-44 majority over the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate. There’s one independent legislator in both the House and Senate, and four seats are vacant in the House.
Holtzman and Hinchey said they plans on casting strict party-line votes against the Republicans.
“I think we have a great slate of candidates in the state,” Holtzman said.
Hinchey and Holtzman, who both work as interns on Lois Murphy’s campaign against Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, said they expect Murphy to unseat incumbent Gerlach in the tight race.
The former College Democrats president said he thinks the congressional races involving
GOP Reps. Curt Weldon and Michael G. Fitzpatrick will be closely contested by the Democratic candidates. Holtzman, careful not to be overconfident, simply said it would be “very nice” if Patrick J. Murphy (no relation to Lois Murphy) defeats Fitzpatrick and Joe Sestak wins against Weldon.
Hinchey said she believes Pat Murphy and Sestak will win their races. “If some of these congressionals don’t go the way I think they’ll go, I’m going to be heartbroken,” Hinchey said.
Even though one-half of the 50-member state Senate and all 203 of the state House seats are up for election, “I think at this point the focus should be on Washington,” Holtzman said. “Washington’s policies affect us a lot more.”
Hinchey said she thinks Democrats have a legitimate chance at capturing a majority in the state House.
Republicans currently hold a 109-93 majority over Democrats in the state House and a 29-21 majority over the Democratic Party in the state Senate.
The College Democrats said everyone registered should exercise his or her civic duty and go to the polls today.
“If you want to inherit a country that you help to create,” Hinchey said, “then you have to vote.”
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.