Third party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, the first presidential candidate to visit West Virginia University this election season, is hosting a press conference and rallyWednesday in the Mountainlair.
The press conference is at 1:30 p.m. in the Shenandoah Room, followed by a rally at 2 p.m. in the Gluck Theatre. According to the Nader campaign, the goal of the rally and conference is to address political issues affecting West Virginia.
Black and white leaflets advertising the event were handed out on campus and downtown since the middle of last week.
Key issues listed on the leaflet were Stop mountain-top removal and $10 minimum wage, topics he is expected to address today.
The focal point of the rally is to allow third party candidates to partake in the presidential debates. Nader was not allowed to participate in Fridays debate between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama both of whom carry over 40 percent of the vote. According to a Time/CNN national poll, Nader carries between five and six percent of the national vote.
Student political leaders on campus share esteem for Nader and his campaign, but stray from the candidates views.
I dont believe in everything he says, but I do want to see him, said the president of the WVU College Republicans Chris Walters. Im really excited to see him. He brings some unique ideals to the table.
President of the WVU Young Democrats Andrew Barnes said he could not make it to the rally, but had seen Nader speak at Harvard University during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
It is important for students to go see him because he raises issues we should be concerned about He questions the need to have more than two political parties in the process. Most democracies in the world do not have just two parties, Barnes said.
Ashley Sanders, youth spokesperson for Naders campaign, said the media was most to blame for his not being taken seriously in the campaign.
Its a catch-22 cycle, Sanders said.
She added that third-party candidates have a difficult time gaining media coverage because of their lack of representation in the polls and due to the lack of media coverage candidates messages are not adequately conveyed.
She said that rogue candidates like Nader and Republican congressman Ron Paul who won Monongalia county during the West Virginia Republican Convention earlier this year have an advantage capturing the youth vote on college campuses.
Weve collaborated with the Ron Paul campaign a lot throughout our campaign, Sanders said.
Paul and Nader have similar platforms on limited and smaller government and several key economic issues.
When asked why Paul and Nader would not share an independent platform ticket, Sanders said the two while respectful of each others political beliefs were too divided on policy to share a ticket.
The campaign suggests a $5 minimum contribution from students for entry to the rally at 2 p.m.