McCain a university Republican favorite
As the presidential race nears the New Hampshire primaries marker tonight; members of the UA College Republicans club say they are confident their candidates will make a good showing.
Polls place Arizona Sen. John McCain atop the New Hampshire rankings, with steady competition from Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
McCain also has to overcome talk radio personality Alan Keyes, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes and conservative activist Gary Bauer to secure the Republican nomination.
Adam Clark, a political science junior, said he favored local hopeful McCain.
"I'm from Tucson - I've been a McCain supporter my whole life," said Clark. "I'd like to see McCain do well."
Seth Frantzman, University of Arizona College Republicans president, said he does not have a favorite candidate and will back any member of his party in his bid for the presidency.
"I support any and all Republican candidates - the most important thing is that Republicans reach out to the American people and are able to communicate their ideas to us," said Frantzman, a history and political science junior.
Republican favor for McCain may be because of his deviance from the conservative right wing, Frantzman said.
"I think McCain is a good candidate because he represents moderation in the Republican party," he said.
McCain's emphasis on campaign finance reform and his appeal to moderate Republicans and veterans have created a solid support base, Frantzman said.
However, a McCain victory is not secure, said Clark.
Clark predicted that despite McCain's appeal to middle-of-the-road Republicans, Bush would claim victory over the Arizona senator in the kick-off primary election.
"Nevertheless, I doubt whether McCain will become the Republican nominee because he has been made to seem too liberal for many of the establishment Republicans," Frantzman said.
Frantzman said Bush's strengths rely on the traditional, "old school, Ronald Reagan" style of Republicanism McCain lacks - plus the recognition Bush owes to his father, former President George Bush.
"I think the Bush name is becoming a Republican version of a Kennedy, name-recognition wise," Clark said.
Stephanie Joseph, who is an American Indian, said she is "rooting for McCain" because he is more educated on Native American issues than Bush is.
"He's done a lot for us, and he's very familiar with our causes," said Joseph, a Russian studies senior and College Republicans vice president. "I don't know if he (Bush) is uninformed, but I don't like his comments regarding Native Americans and sovereignty."
After tonight's primaries, Frantzman said Americans can begin to look forward to a new and improved presidential administration.
"No matter the outcome of New Hampshire, this is the first stepping stone to the end of the Clinton era and the emergence of a new, respectable American government," he said.