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N.C. State Democrats Push Through Long Season

This story was written by Chris Allred, Technician

The election process this year has been a long one for North Carolina State University students working with campaigns, especially with those that joined Democratic campaigns through the primaries in May.

"There have been some times when it gets exhausting because I'm also student teaching," Drew Wall, a senior in history and president of Students for Barack Obama, said. "But it's definitely been worth it."

Derek Gatlin, a senior in sociology, joined the Obama campaign early on, and said it has been rewarding for other students to catch on to politics.

"All the sudden, it became cool to talk about issues," he said. "People are starting to tune into politics."

According to Gatlin, Democrats have been pushing their issues for a long time, but the country's youth is starting to listen, and that politics has gotten more prominent in student discussion has made Gatlin more excited about the election.

"I'm more energized than ever," he said. "I'm legitimized. I've been talking to students about issues since 2006."

Attention to North Carolina has not faded throughout the election either, as presidential candidate Barack Obama visited Raleigh Wednesday, and Republican vice presidential candidate will speak in Raleigh Saturday at the State Fairgrounds.

Gatlin said students are continuing to work hard in favor of Obama and local Democratic candidates.

Obama had a 30-minute campaign infomercial on all the major television networks except ABC, and Gatlin said it could help motivate volunteers.

"It ended with a call to action to do canvassing," he said.

All students need to do to help canvass is go to the Barack Obama Raleigh headquarters on 600 St. Mary's Street.

Volunteers will work in "get-out-the-vote" drives to motivate people to get to the polls, as well as use phone banks.

After the election, Gatlin said he will continue to work in politics.

"This is not something that's going to end on Election Day," he said. "Once you get tuned in, it's impossible to cut away. It would be neglecting my civic duty to not get involved."

Wall said this has been a long campaign, and while he has enjoyed it, he will need the next semester to catch up on schoolwork and prepare to graduate.

"I've been involved since Barack Obama won the Iowa caucus," he said. "I'd definitely love to work again [in another] election year to get involved."

Gatlin said since Obama is ahead in the polls right now against Republican presidential candidate John McCain, it has energized them leading up to Nov. 4.

"If we influence others to get out and vote, it may help hand North Carolina over to Barack Obama and if we do, it may help hand the presidency to Barack Obama," he said. "We can choose the next leader of our country. We really do have that power."

Gatlin said he is sure he will continue a life of politics after next Tuesday.

"I'm definitely not worn out," he said.

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