College Democrats and Republicans Will Square Up in Midterm Election Debate



Ahead of November’s election, the College Democrats and College Republicans at the University of Illinois Springfield will hold a debate Thursday, Oct. 25 at 9:30 p.m. 

Four members from each group will participate in the discussion moderated by the Student Advocacy Coalition. The questions will emphasize election year issues, including each party’s gubernatorial candidate, the income tax system, healthcare and the Janus v. AFSCME decision. Participants also will consider which party should control the U.S. Congress. 

“I know we’re not the only students that are concerned about these issues,” said Kaelan Smith, president of the College Republicans. “You don’t have to be a Republican or Democrat to care about taxes or who our next governor is going to be.” 

Molly Looby, president of the College Democrats, is emphasizing civility just as much as Smith in the debate, focusing on ideas instead of bashing the other’s candidate. 

“Debates can get pretty nasty, historically,” Looby said. “I think we all have a mutual respect for one another on a personal level. I think that helps.” 

According to Looby, the student debate will allow both groups to connect with UIS community members in a way candidates may not be able to. 

The debate, which will take place in the Student Union Ballroom, is open to all students, faculty, and area residents. Both Smith and Looby hope it will inspire audience members to head to the polls.  

“This is all student-led and driven,” Smith said. “We’re doing it so students can come out, have fun with it, but also think about what’s important in this election.” 

Meetings for both organizations are open to all students. In addition to the debate, the College Democrats are organizing a letter-writing initiative in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Members of the College Republicans will continue to bolster local GOP candidates by working on campaigns and attending relevant debates.