California College Republicans Elect New Leader

The fractures within the Republican Party have reached into the California College Republicans organization, which had its first contested election in nearly a decade.

The winner, Ariana Rowlands, a senior majoring in Political Science at the University of California at Irvine, beat her opponent, a graduate from the University of Southern California named Leesa Danzek, in a vote of 88 to 64. The fourteen members of the executive board were evenly divided between the two, however.

Rowlands is notable for being an ally of Milo Yiannopoulos, a right wing entertainer whom many see as a provocateur. In recent months he has been set to speak at many California universities, only to have them cancel due to students' protest or for said protests to erupt into full-scale riots.

Rowlands is part of a faction of the organization called Rebuild, which is more assertive of its positions defending the people and values of the Republican Party. She has spoken out about what she and others perceive as a wider far-left attack on conservatives on college campuses, saying that she will stand up to those who “seem to hate you more than ever before.”

“We are the voice of the conservative movement on college campuses, we will continue to do so, and we will be louder and prouder than ever before."

Indeed, her election was hailed by conservative students who say that they often feel suppressed or denigrated in the liberal bastion that is the average California college campus. Many hope that Rowland's more aggressive approach will help combat the growing anti-conservative sentiment that has only gotten stronger since President Donald Trump came into national prominence last year.

“I love Rebuild because it's about activism, getting the message out there, embracing an actual conservative approach rather than trying to appease liberals or work with administration,” said UC San Diego senior Derek Martin. “It’s nice to have an approach that wants to fight back just as much as the other side is fighting us.”

However, tensions continue to run between Rebuild and Danzek's more moderate faction of the organization, Thrive, which has been calling for understanding and unity in light of the growing unrest. One member is Andrew Mendoza, president of the UC Davis College Republicans. He said that many Thrive members are thinking of breaking off and starting their own group, and bluntly opined that the leadership of the organization is "abhorrent."


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