by Emily Landgraf
The Country First Rally kicked off blitz weekend on Wednesday in the Cavalla Room.
According to sophomore Josh Hursa, president of the College Republicans, the idea was to “get people excited about the election, the Republican slate and blitz weekend.” Blitz weekend is a term commonly used to refer to the weekend before a presidential election.
The Republican community at Rider is very excited about their presidential ticket.
“[Sen. John McCain] gives us the ability, when we make it in the job market, to keep the money that we earn,” Hursa said. “He’s also a proponent for affordable health care.”
Senior Kyle Battaglia, executive director of the College Republicans, was enthusiastic about McCain’s positive attitude toward the United States.
“He’s proud to be an American and he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work,” Battaglia said. “He’ll bring the parties together.”
Many of the students there were very happy about McCain’s position on taxes and the fact that he is against wasteful spending.
“When it comes to earmark reform, his record is second to none,” said sophomore Kevin Van Loan.
Students from The College of New Jersey also attended the rally. They expressed excitement about the Republican ticket and were very confident that McCain could win the election. These students stated that it is not only about the presidential election, but also the congressional candidates.
“We need to support our party on all levels, especially the local level because that’s the level that’s going to affect us most,” one of the students said.
Other students said they were excited about McCain’s vision of change, his experience and his determination to improve America.
Speakers at the event included former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, N.J. director for Americans for Prosperity; Bill Spadea, president of Building the New Majority; Michael Illions (aka A.J. Sparxx), conservative activist and blogger; Assemblyman Richard Merkt, Republican candidate for governor; Jim McSorley, candidate for Mercer County sheriff; Mayor David Fried, Robbinsville; Christian Stasse, campaign manager, Bateman for Congress; and Ory Rinat, political director, Zimmer for Senate.
Rinat started the event by telling the audience about Richard Zimmer, the candidate he represents. Zimmer is a proponent of reducing spending in New Jersey and Rinat said that Zimmer would help lead New Jersey in the right direction.
Merkt, who announced he is running for governor of New Jersey in 2009, said that instead of talking about his bid for governor, he wanted to talk about the McCain-Palin ticket.
“All elections come down to a choice between two people,” he said. “We’re not electing a saint. We’re electing a person to be the president of the United States.”
Merkt also stated that it comes down to which candidate Americans can trust, and he believes that candidate is McCain.
Spadea, the president of an organization called Building the New Majority, followed Merkt. His organization is dedicated to building up the Republican Party in New Jersey. He stated that there is a stark difference between the candidates in this election, especially when it comes to their views on the economy.
“We need to spread around opportunity, not wealth,” he said.
Spadea also stated that when the people of New Jersey wake up on Nov. 5, they will still face a tremendous amount of corruption in their state government. Spadea said that New Jersey needs change on the local level before it can take on the corruption in the upper levels of the state government. He encouraged young people to get out and vote, to run for office and to get involved in public service.
“Involvement at [the] youth level is crucial,” he said. “We need to wake on Nov. 5 and be prepared to fix New Jersey in 2009.”