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A Trump pin on a supporter's hat during Trump's speech in Columbus on Nov. 23.

College Republicans will likely endorse Donald Trump

Despite initial reservations, members of the Ohio University College Republicans will likely continue their tradition of backing the party's nominee for president, pooling their support for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. 

Earlier this month, though, members of the Republican Club at Harvard University announced that they were refusing to support Trump. It was the first time in the club's 128-year history that they did not support the Republican nominee, according to a letter from the group published online

"The rhetoric he espouses — from racist slander to misogynistic taunts — is not consistent with our conservative principles, and his repeated mocking of the disabled and belittling of the sacrifices made by prisoners of war, Gold Star families, and Purple Heart recipients is not only bad politics, but absurdly cruel," the group wrote. 

But for now, the OUCR, one of many collegiate GOP groups across the country, will not reach a similar decision. The group's president, Dave Parkhill, a junior studying business management, said the club will most likely back Trump but quickly added that the presidential election would not be the club's primary focus.

“At this point we have to (endorse),” Parkhill said. “I don’t think there’s really any other option.”

Members of the College Republicans will decide whether to officially endorse Trump after their second club meeting. Parkhill said that members hadn't "really talked about” the decision on whether or not they would be endorsing Trump over the summer. The first meeting will be held Wednesday and then weekly thereafter. 

“Our first meeting will be quick, just an introduction for new members,” Clinton Hedrick, the club's treasurer, said. “We will hold a vote at the second meeting."

Parkhill describes himself as pro-Trump but understands that some members will have reservations about a candidate that has proved divisive for the Republican Party. Originally, Parkhill voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

“I had my eye on Trump, but I thought Kasich would do well, so I voted for him,” Parkhill said. “Obviously he only won Ohio, so I got back on the Trump train. I think people are starting to get fed up with the (political correctness), where the culture is going, and Trump is an example that we don’t have to conform to all this.” 

Hedrick is less enthusiastic about Trump. He supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the primary election and said he views Trump as the “lesser of two evils" in a race against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Hedrick added that he felt more politically aligned with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, but said the club would definitely not endorse him, stating simply that the decision stems from the group being Republican-focused. 

Parkhill said the club will give members every opportunity to volunteer for the Trump campaign if they so choose, but overall will focus more on local and state elections.

“I don’t know how much going door-to-door for Trump, at least (with) college kids, will sway people,” Parkhill said, adding that Trump won Athens County and every county around it in the March primary.

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The College Republicans will be working to get U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, re-elected, and several club members spent the summer working for the campaigns of U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson, R-6th District, and Steve Stivers, R-15th-District. Parkhill also said the club will work to support Frank Hoagland’s bid for the state senate and Jay Edward's for house representative of Ohio's 94th District. 

Still, even with a reduced focus, Parkhill said it is important to back the party nominee.

“I understand that he’s not the ideal candidate, but I think Trump is our only other option to beat (Hillary Clinton),” he said. “We can’t let Hillary in the White House.”


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