East Tennessee's young adults sought by both parties in 2008

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- He may not have won South Carolina or Nevada, but Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's Knox County supporters aren't giving up hope.

As the results came rolling in on Saturday night, a group of college students and older Huckabee fans watched them unfold from the University Center on UT's campus.

The supporters were all apart of a grass roots effort, partly run by what you could call a young sprout.

"I don't think we've ever had a candidate like this before," said Ted Boyatt, a first year student who happens to be the chairman of UT Students for Mike Huckabee. “I think this is a motion, a movement that younger students are actually going to get involved."

On Saturday night, about 15 Huckabee supporters watched the South Carolina Primarily results unfold on U-T's campus.

"It's exciting to finally have a say in what goes on in a presidential election," said Boyatt who along with Caleb Trimble, 20, will cast their first ballots every for the nation’s top office.

"We need to start establishing ourselves,” said Trimble.

Boyatt and Trimble are proof that the candidates goal of trying to get the attention of younger voters is working.

All the candidates for both the Republican and Democratic parties have profiles on social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace.

"I see him on YouTube a lot,” said Trimble. “I hear a lot of his talks about the stuff he endorses and the stuff he doesn't.

Democrats agree that young voters are a must get.

"It'll make a difference,” said Jim Gray, former chair of the Democratic Party of Knox County. “I think young people are suddenly realizing that they have a steak in this thing."

Gray also thinks nobody has done it better than Barack Obama in Iowa.

"He basically said, ‘people don't think you'll show up and you won't do anything’ and their response was sure we will,” Gray said, “and he won."

Boyatt said he thinks the youth have always been a vocal political group, and his group is one of many nationwide that are setting out to prove it.

The larger Knoxville-area Huckabee Meet-Up Group helped organized the Saturday night get-together.

To go along with the presidential primary, both Republicans and Democrats say more attention needs to be paid to our local elections.

You can get all your elections by clicking on the Campaign ‘08 button.


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