Local and state candidates running for office targeted the UNC Greek community in the final days before the midterm elections.
The UNC College Republicans, Young Democrats and the Interfraternity Council sponsored a voter education cookout in Fraternity Court on Tuesday afternoon, serving hot dogs and chips to approximately three dozen students and campaign supporters.
Candidates for state and local offices, as well as campaign representatives, spoke briefly to those in attendance, emphasizing the campaigns’ various stances on education issues and plans to support economic growth.
“It’s hard to get fraternity guys out,” said junior Tucker Piner, IFC president.
Piner said he was pleased with the number of Greeks in attendance and the cookout was a part of a larger effort by the IFC to encourage its members to take an active role in other campus groups.
He also said he hopes the IFC’s next voter awareness event in 2012 will be even bigger than this year’s cookout and would perhaps even include a Rock the Vote concert.
“Ideally we’d like to see all of Fraternity Court filled up,” he said.
B.J. Lawson, the Republican running for incumbent U.S. Rep. David Price’s congressional seat, spoke to students along with a representative of his opponent’s campaign.
Also in attendance were Republicans Ryan Hilliard, who is running for N.C. senate, and Greg Andrews, who is running for Orange County Commissioner.
They were joined by campaign staff representing incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and his Democratic opponent Elaine Marshall.
Sophomore Austin Gilmore, a member of the Young Democrats, said he thought the turnout was low, but the event was a good forum for his organization.
“As far as Democrats looking at the Greek community, I think we’re at a disadvantage,” he said, adding he thought the group as a whole tends to lean politically right.
Junior Anthony Dent, chairman of the College Republicans, also said he thought the cookout was a good idea for his group.
“The Greek community poses a very unique opportunity,” he said.
Paul Cox, deputy campaign manager for Price, said it was important for students to be aware of the issues being debated in this election, including the future of public education and job growth.
“It’s just to remind students of what’s at stake,” Cox said.
He said Price has always been a strong supporter of public education, while Lawson is against the federal government’s involvement in that sector.
“We just can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Lawson told students.
Lawson said the country needs to move toward a truer capitalist economy.
“This is a crony capitalist regime,” he said.
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