BOULDER, Colo. — Student after student at the University of Colorado will happily tell you that they plan to vote for Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders. The U.S. senator from Vermont may have commanded a crowd of thousands when he last visited town, but a vocal minority is now getting its day in the sun.
The third Republican presidential debate is set to take place Wednesday on campus, and the influx of conservative politicians into Colorado underscores the swing-state's key role. But even for the few vocal Republicans on campus, the debate's location within the state was unexpected.
"I was quite surprised they would choose such a campus that is so out there with its liberal view," said Ian Andrews, treasurer for CU, Boulder's College Republicans, adding that he commends the party for its decision.
Still, there is no debating which way the Boulder campus leans politically: Campus Democrat leaders told CNBC their events can draw more than 100 volunteers, while the Republican organization's ranks are much lighter.
"Membership in our club has usually been four people — let's be honest," Andrews said. But he said things are starting to look up. "We're sending out emails and we're actually getting replies. It's pretty cool."