Maryland held last resort

By Nina Gougis

More NIU students and DeKalb residents agree Democrat Barack Obama would not have won with such a significant lead in the U.S. Senate election if Republican Jack Ryan had not withdrawn from the race.

Alan Keyes accepted the Republican nomination after Ryan withdrew his candidacy in June.

Although Ryan’s decision helped Obama’s voter support, Ryan would have been a stronger candidate had he stayed in the race, said Mikel Wyckoff, an NIU associate political science professor.

“[Ryan is] well qualified for the position and has a personal appeal to independent voters, not to mention he would be very well-funded,” Wyckoff said.

Others, like third-year law student Dan DiMario, agree Ryan’s decision helped Obama gain support because Keyes is too conservative to be relatable to most voters.

Obama’s strong campaigning and effective speaking are key reasons others said he would be successful regardless of Ryan’s decision.

“He’s a great candidate,” said Conicia Jackson, junior business major and vice president of the Black Student Union. “He’s an excellent speaker, and he’s willing to fight for what citizens believe in Illinois.”

His effective speaking has led some speculate that Obama will achieve stardom in the Senate.

Wyckoff said it is too difficult to predict his success in the Senate, which will depend on his ability to build alliances within his party, learn the legislative process and contribute to significant legislation.

“He’s a bright guy, and there’s no reason why he can’t be successful,” Wyckoff said. “But I don’t know if he’ll become an instant star.”