Embedded: a Very Welcoming Committee

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Lydia DePillis is on her last day in Kentucky, following the CU Dems’ final hours on the trail.

celebrationSOMEWHERE OUTSIDE LEXINGTON, Ky.–Judging by appearances at the Blue Grass Airport this evening, Columbia students are an extremely odd bunch.

Perhaps it was the frustrating afternoon spreading literature in areas that had already been covered, before a thunderstorm put a stop to the redundant canvassing. Or maybe the several hours cooped up in the staging area making signs and eating pizza. It could have just been the freezing cold–or maybe the Dems really were so fired up by Steve Beshear that they couldn’t contain themselves.

Whatever the reason, while waiting for the future governor to Kentucky to land in his jet, this band of screaming students rocked the tarmac with lusty takes on Prince, the Beatles, Columbia fight songs, and assorted patriotic anthems. Mixed in with a small crowd of high schoolers, legislative staffers, teachers union people, and party apparatchiks, they worked through cheers both original (“We want Steve! Fletcher leave!”) and standard (“This is what democracy looks like!”). The place felt more like a rock concert than a political event, and the non-Columbians weren’t quite sure what to make of it—although reactions were almost uniformly positive.

“I’m glad to see young people so energized,” said Jamie Franklin, chief of staff for the jovial state Representative Charlie Hoffman, also in attendance. “It reminds me of the 70s…it’s a resurgence of those emotions.”

beshearThe chanting and signwaving grew to a frenzy as Beshear and his ticket landed and emerged via SUV. “Clear a path!” yelled Ori Sosnik. The New Yorkers roared on cue as a lady with a bullhorn yelled out the names of those standing for election today, with special enthusiasm for hottie Attorney General candidate Jack Conway and unaccountable favorite Crit Luallen, running for State Auditor.

“Are there any people from Columbia here?” Beshear shouted after his introduction. “Listen, we love you to death. Thanks for coming out.”

Then the insane rally broke apart, and the students straggled back to the vans. The sense of exhilaration mitigated the news that the day began at 7:00 AM the next morning, as people start remembering the existence of homework.

“We are the energy behind this campaign,” Dems board member Chris Daniels told the group assembled in the motel lobby, in their third pep talk of the day. 


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  1. alum

    study abroad in america!

    the Dems aren't the only ones road-tripping in Kentucky, this is from the most emailed list on the Times

  2. Lexingtonian

    Blue Grass Airport is in Lexington. Is this just outside of Lexington, or are you at Louisville International Airport, formerly Standiford Field?

  3. i love the earth  

    This trip seems like a complete waste of resources. You drove all that distance for a race where Beshear was virtually a lock to win. Think of your carbon footprint! Maybe you guys should have stayed in NJ and canvassed for the stem cell research initiative, take the PATH train.

  4. Alex

    *rolls eyes and chuckles*

    Now THAT is a stereotype.

    Yes, it was in Lexington at BGA--I was there. I'm a student reporter for one of the local highschools.

    The reason why CU students were there, according to my interviews, was because Kentucky is considered a "weather vane" state--Kentucky could be an indicator as to how other state elections could flow. (KY has been a "red state" since the 2000 elections.)

    Considering the political improtance of the state this year, I don't blame them for spending time here.

    BTW, I am a Republican. : )

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