This story was written by Amy Passaretti, The Breeze
Walking into the Rockingham County McCain headquarters, one would have thought that the candidate had already won. The amount of optimism and enthusiasm among all volunteers, residents and campaign workers was phenomenal.
I honestly believe that McCain will come out on top, Patrick Wilson, an intern and James Madison University senior, said last night. Wilson works 25-30 hours a week in the office.
While they watched election coverage last night, the overriding consensus among supporters was that it wasnt over yet.
Most of the medias just so biased, Michael Ganoe, field director of the Harrisonburg campaign said. Thats why we take it with a grain of salt. We just keep working.
Turnout was higher than usual at the polls Tuesday, and volunteers began to focus their efforts on starting at 4:30 a.m.
People were excited about the election regardless of whatever candidate they were for, said Kerri Wilson, chairwoman of the city council. I think that this election generated a lot of enthusiasm.
One disappointment throughout the campaign was the result of local county elections. All three democratic candidates won the vote, and some McCain supporters believe the main reason was because of JMU students who were registered to vote in Harrisonburg.
Many students did it to vote in the national election but many McCain supporters feel they did not take the same amount of time and effort to become informed about the local candidates.
The fundamental argument was that JMU students are here only temporarily and theyre making decisions on issues which impact only residents who will be affected long after they are gone.
I love the fact that theyre active; no matter who you agree with, get active, said Chaz Evans-Haywood, clerk of the circuit court. However, be informed.
Evans-Haywood feels students should have the opportunity to vote, but feel absentee ballots from non-Harrisonburg residents are the way to go. He understands there are often difficulties with that process, but feels that the legislation for future elections should be changed to prevent this from happening.
Regardless of this minor setback, JMU volunteers from the College Republicans still feel they made a huge effort and that it was important to keep their message out there to make sure students are informed.
We made people aware that there is a strong republican community, said Katie Cannon, another intern and JMU freshman on the campaign.
JMU is unfortunately less republican, said Wilson, who often feels he is among the minority of a fairly openly democratic campus.
I do believe there is more of a balance, he said. I do believe there are more republicans than what you see.
Among their efforts to get people to vote, College Republicans wanted to encourage students to find their place among people who share similar beliefs and values. Both interns described the McCain headquarters theyve been working at for the past few months as a home away from home and a family-like atmosphere.
People from age four to grandparents, according to Cannon, have come to work together on this campaign.
We have done absolutely amazing and the race is going to show that, Cannon said.