U. Florida Republicans, Democrats Content With Clinton Win

This story was written by Deborah Swerdlow, Independent Florida Alligator
Following Tuesday's New Hampshire presidential primaries, UF student groups supporting both the Democrats and the Republicans expressed satisfaction with the Democratic winner - but for different reasons.

Ben Grove, chairman of UF College Republicans and a political science senior, said his group would love to see Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., as the Democratic nominee in the general election.

"In terms of rallying our base, there is nothing more of a driving factor than having another Clinton on the ballot," Grove said.

Clinton won with 39 percent of the vote, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., won the Republican primary with 37 percent. Both candidates finished third in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 6.

Grove said McCain's victory, which was fueled by independents, proved the Arizona senator is a viable candidate to be the next president. In New Hampshire, independents can choose whether to cast ballots in the Democratic or Republican primary.

He also emphasized that the lack of a clear front-runner for the Republicans makes Florida's primary even more important.

"I think Florida being the big state, being the be-end-all for some candidates, other states will look at Florida and make their decision," Grove said. There are no active UF student organizations representing McCain.

The UF College Democrats congratulated Clinton for her victory in a news release.

And the student group backing Clinton was -- obviously - also excited.

Becca Guerra, co-chairwoman of the Clinton-backing student group Gators for Hillary, and a UF master's student in political campaigning, said her group wasn't surprised.

"We knew she could do it," Guerra said. "We faced a lot of criticism this week, but we felt that the campaign really just stayed on key."

Clinton's campaign was able to turn her defeat in Iowa into momentum, Guerra said.

She said her organization thinks Clinton's "misty moment," when the senator shed a few tears during a Monday speech in New Hampshire, showed voters her personal side and helped her win.

"It's not going to be an easy race, but I think that Hillary has a good chance," Guerra said. "She proved herself in New Hampshire, and I think she'll give it her best."
© 2008 Independent Florida Alligator via U-WIRE