Those BYU Volunteers

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Since McKay Coppins reported about the Romney campaign’s efforts to energize the South Carolina primaries with volunteers from out of state Mormon colleges, which has been linked by Profxm, I thought that a quick note to put the event into context might be in order.

Every campaign is trying to swell its volunteer force by bringing in people from out of state. When I was the co-director of the Obama campaign in Prince Georges Coutny, MD, for example, we depoyed over 3,000 volunteers to Virginia for the general election campaign in 2008 after helping out in various states during the primaries.

BYU and Bob Jones University are notorious for supplying volunteers to Republican campaigns across the nation. In part, their prominence may reflect Democratic paranoia but the real reason is obvious:

There arent that many places with a high concentration of conservative young people with disposable time to volunteer.

In this case, its an easy story to tell because the Mormon Mitt Romney receives help from Mormon college students. In reality, however, BYU volunteers routinely come in support of conservative gentile candidates in states like Virginia and California. Likewise, you can be sure that somewhere in Florida, there will be busloads of student volunteers from Bob Jones University supporting this or that candidate.

Since they won’t be Mormons campaigning for a Mormon, the media will be less sensitive to their appearance.

7 thoughts on “Those BYU Volunteers

  1. Great to put it in context. Thanks. “Since they wont be Mormons campaigning for a Mormon, the media will be less sensitive to their appearance.” That’s the real news story.

  2. In this case, its an easy story to tell because the Mormon Mitt Romney receives help from Mormon college students. In reality, however, BYU volunteers routinely come in support of conservative gentile candidates in states like Virginia and California.

    True, but it’s not like the BYU students are coming to support Santorum or Gingrich. There’s a specific “Mormons supporting a Mormon because he’s a Mormon” phenomenon here.

    This reminds me of a comment (laden with sarcasm) kuri left a few weeks ago in another thread:

    (a) When 90+ percent of Mormons voters support Romney, its solely because they think hes the best candidate for the job.
    (b) When 90+ percent of African-American voters support Obama, its solely because of race.

  3. BYU and Bob Jones University are notorious for supplying volunteers to Republican campaigns across the nation. In part, their prominence may reflect Democratic paranoia but the real reason is obvious:

    There arent that many places with a high concentration of conservative young people with disposable time to volunteer.

    Don’t they need to go to class or something? South Carolina is a bit of a commute for people attending school in Utah…

  4. Chanson, most of the BYU volunteers are coming from the Washington Seminar in DC where BYU has a substantial campus for hundreds of interns.

  5. Of course, Mormons are excited about Mormon candidates. There is nothing wrong with that. But this is true as well:

    90% of African American voters have been supporting almost any Democratic candidate anywhere in the country for decades. Most of those candidates were white, some were Jewish, others Asians or Black.

    Likewise, a huge percentage of Mormons have been supporting any yellow dog running with the Republican label. I think Pew just put the Mormon support for Republicans around 70%.

    I have seen BYU volunteers campaigning all over Virginia without Mormons anywhere near the top of the ballot. If Romney and Huntsman hadn’t been on the ballot, there might have been BYU volunteers for Gingrich or Santorum in South Carolina just as there were BYU volunteers for McCain during the 2008 general election in Virginia.

  6. And, let’s face it, is it really fair to assume that they are supporting Romney for his Mormonness over the fact that he is NOT Gingrich or Santorum? I mean, come on, give them some credit.

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