College Republicans host watch party for third Republican primary debate

Forrest Milburn

The top 10 Republican presidential hopefuls stood up for conservative principles Wednesday evening as UT students voiced their support at a College Republicans watch party.

For the third debate of the 2016 Republican primary, candidates sparred for a higher poll position, as College Republicans set up a watch party in order for students to see a debate of Republican core values.

“It’s good for us to be able to discuss and evaluate together what’s being said and bounce ideas off each other,” Robert Guerra, College Republicans communications director, said. “I know for me personally, I’m undecided at the moment, and so I very much look forward to the debates to see where the candidates stand.”

The 10 candidates are former governors Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee; Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich; Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former CEO Carly Fiorina and businessman Donald Trump.

A CBS/New York Times poll of Republican primary voters released Tuesday listed Ben Carson in first place for the first time with 26 percent to Trump’s 22. After the two top candidates, the rest of the pack follows behind in the single digits.

Economics freshman Greg Fantin, a supporter of Carly Fiorina, said he believes one of the more moderate candidates will secure the nomination.

“While Ben Carson may have high appeal among religious voters, and that may give him a big boost in Iowa and New Hampshire, but at the end of the day, the candidates who win are the moderates who have independent appeal,” Fantin said. “Someone like Marco Rubio has a high chance of winning delegates at the convention, and thus I see him as being the most likely candidate.”

Business freshman Ramanika Upneja, a member of Students for Jeb, said she believes Bush’s falling position in the race — tied at fourth in the CBS/New York Times poll — is because of the anger from the conservatives in the base and said he will eventually rise to the top of the field, because of his gubernatorial experience.

“The reason why we wouldn’t be supportive of someone like Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump or Ben Carson is because they haven’t been in executive office, they don’t know how the system works,” Upneja said. “As much as people would like to think that’s a good thing, they still don’t know how to work with congress, like Jeb Bush has been able to do on a state level.”

Fox Business and The Wall Street Journal will host the next Republican presidential debate on Nov. 10, with the next Democratic debate airing Nov. 14 on CBS News.