In the wake of the recent Ward 1 aldermanic loss, the Republican Party at Yale is regrouping and working to change their image on campus.
Paul Chandler ’14, the former Republican candidate for Ward 1, may have lost the election, but Republicans interviewed for the article said that he was able to garner bipartisan support by appealing to moderates across campus. Appealing to a moderate crowd is a strategy they said they plan to capitalize on in the future. Often it is difficult for Republicans at Yale to avoid being grouped with extreme conservative ideologies, said Austin Schaefer ’15, the chairman of the Yale College Republicans.
“The biggest problem that the GOP faces on campus is getting past people’s knee-jerk reaction to the word Republican,” Schaefer said.
Catherine Shaw ’16, a member of Chandler’s senior staff said Chandler’s campaign marked the beginning of moving Yale’s student body beyond the negativity associated with Republicans. Many people on campus responded well to him as a person and found him genuinely interested in improving New Haven, she said.
As a result of Chandler’s charisma, the Republican Party affiliation played a smaller role in the election than people would have assumed at the beginning, Ben Mallet ’16, Chandler’s campaign manager, said.
With Ted Cruz and Rand Paul representing the Republican party at the moment, the more extreme ends of the Party seem to be in the forefront of many people’s minds, and it is just this conception the campaign sought to combat, Schaefer said. said Schaefer. “Yale got to see a Republican candidate who was not only immensely reasonable, practical and approachable, but who also really cared.”
Though the Republicans said they believe they are making a comeback at Yale, Tyler Blackmon ’16, the communications director for the Yale College Deomcrats, said that Chandler’s appeal to moderates further proves that Yale continues to be a liberal campus.
Paul Chandler, Blackmon said, did not run for alderman with a conservative agenda.
“Paul Chandler was only able to get 37 percent, but only after tacking very far to the left. He had to distance himself from conservatism,” Blackmon said. “What this means is that Yalies don’t like conservatism and the center for this race was very far left.”
Though Republicans at Yale said that they plan to continue to try to change the image of conservatism on campus, they did not specify how they plan to be politically active in the future. However, Schaefer said that Yale Republicans are excited to be involved in the gubernatorial and congressional elections next fall.
In the recent election, Chandler received 285 out of 798 votes.