The College Republican National Committee is the voice of young conservatives. This encompasses a number of roles, from educating young adults about conservative principles, to getting Republicans elected, to training tomorrow’s Republican leaders. Each of these roles was on display in Massachusetts, where College Republicans played a large part in getting Scott Brown elected. To show our impact I could present you with the data – the amount of volunteers that went, the number of phone calls made, or the total number of doors we knocked on. But this is a case where the personal story of one College Republican volunteer best sums up the difference we made in the race.
His name is Karl Beckstein and he’s a sophomore at Suffolk University. He came to my attention from an email I received from the College Republican Chair of the Massachusetts which described a guy who “went from a curious kid just wanting to help out with the campaign to being put in charge of a major call center in Littleton.” I was intrigued. I did a little research and it turns out that the Littleton center was one of the highlights of the campaign and on more than one occasion beat the campaign headquarters in output. The email went on, “this guy has been enormously helpful to both the campaign and our state federation, he’s really the model of what a CR should be.”
At this point I don’t think I have to tell anyone how the race turned out. Suffice it to say that a Republican was elected to a seat which Ted Kennedy held for 46 years in arguably the bluest state in the nation. After the election I finally had my chance to talk with Karl and see just how he went from volunteer to a major player in the campaign. He described to me how he had put in the work, going from internship to internship, putting in his best effort along the way. As he said,
“Everyone works hard, but the key is how you do it. You have to wake up and say, I don’t want to put in 15 hours today, but I’m going to do it.”
His diligence didn’t go unnoticed. In the fall he says he received a call asking if he was interested in working for the Scott Brown campaign.“I was completely taken by surprise. They called and said ‘We need someone to run a field office in your area, would you be willing to do it?’ It really came out of nowhere.”
Scott Brown should consider himself lucky. By the end of the campaign Beckstein’s call center was “easily doing ten-to-fifteen thousand calls a day” and in the final push making as many as “seventeen thousand voter contacts.” He said the success of his call center came easy, it was just a matter of building a sense of family amongst the volunteers.
A number of those volunteers were fellow College Republicans who were quick to join in the excitement that the Scott Brown campaign created. Beckstein pointed to a surprising call he received from the University of Texas CRs who wanted to know what they could do to help. As he said,
One of the people from the CRs, even before it looked like we were going to be able to pull it off, called to see what they could do. They said, ‘just let us know what we can do and we’ll make sure it gets done.
The help poured in from all over the nation. Brown’s call-from-home program enabled College Republicans everywhere to donate their spare time to helping the Republican candidate pull off a surprising victory. The reason, says Beckstein, was that,
“the message definitely appealed to us. Young people are sick of the Kennedy’s. Part of the win is just the youth being fed up. Part of it is just that [Scott Brown] is a rockstar. There was a ton of youth at the rallys. I mean, we had high school kids, college kids, down to middle school kids who wanted to help the guy. He himself was younger and he could relate to who we are and what we wanted.
Young adults’ excitement translated into votes come election day – a fact that Republican candidates would be wise to remember in November. “Scott Brown won the 18-29 age group. He killed the Democrats with the youth. Now we just have to take that fact and ride that wave throughout the nation,” Beckstein says. That is where College Republicans come in. We will do our best to educate the young adults on candidates and issues which concern them. We will be the boots on the ground and the voice on the phones to get Republicans elected. And we will continue to cultivate tomorrow’s leaders, like Karl Beckstein, who will carry the banner of the Republican party for years to come.