While most students were returning to school on the week of Aug.27, Evan Draim, a senior at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes’s School in Alexandria, Va., was at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. as the youngest delegate in attendance. Draim will be eligible to vote when he turns 18 on Sept. 14.
Evan Draim, the official delegate from Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, ran for his position in May, defeating Republican Committee Chairman Charles Hokanson among others. His campaign involved calling 700 people who were registered to vote in the convention and attending local Republican meetings almost every night of the week. Draim’s motives for running were “to represent young Americans” and to bring a voice for “an under-represented group, which is American students.” Draim has attended two state GOP conventions before.
Draim has become a media phenom and has received so many interview requests that he now requires two bookers for the national media. Draim is a fresh Republican face, which may help break the negative image of the GOP.
“I thought it was necessary to have a younger, newer face represent the Republican Party,” he said. “We’ve been stereotyped in such a way that many young people would never consider voting for a Republican.”
Former Montana Governor and longtime RNC attendee Tim Babcock said, “Our [the GOP’s] salvation is going to be young people like this boy here.
The Republican Party has attempted to dispel its negative image. In the 2008 election, John McCain received less than a third of voters aged 29 and under. In July of this year, voters of the same group supported Romney at 42 percent. If Romney does receive 42 percent of their vote, it “would be a big improvement from last elections,” said Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
In his spare time at school, Draim is a member of the swim team, the debate team, and president of the Virginia Junior Classical League, in addition to taking AP classes. In addition, he actively campaigns for Virginian Republican candidates by partaking in organization such as Young Ambassadors for Allen, of which he is the chairman.
While his vote as a delegate may not change the course of the election, his precocious role in politics not only encourages young voters to vote for Romney, but also interests high school students in politics.