CRA 1-Year Update!

May 18, 2024
Simon Siedl

The team at the College Republicans of America is honored and proud to celebrate our first anniversary on this May 18th, 2024. We at CR News wanted to share with our supporters and constituent chapters all the amazing opportunities, experiences, and resources that CRA has created in just our first year of existence - from groundbreaking international summits to on-the-ground efforts at home- as well as the extraordinary accomplishments on the horizon.

The College Republicans of America started as a small merger between the College Republican Federations in California and Wisconsin, a desperate but necessary response to the corruption and leadership failures hat characterized the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) and the National Federation of College Republicans (NFCR) for the last two decades. The California and Wisconsin federations had a shared vision for a stronger, smarter, more effective national College Republicans.

The CRA Political Action Committee was established on May 18th, 2023, with official approval coming from the IRS. In its cradle, CRA had just small beachheads in several different states, including Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, California, North Dakota, and others. 

CRA leaped out of its cradle before May came to a close. The end of the month saw several chapters from D.C., Nebraska, and New York throw their lot in with CRA. CRA then chartered Brown University, making Brown the first Ivy League school under the CRA umbrella. By the end of June, CRA represented 25 of the top 100 schools across the country.

Moreover, the July 6th addition of the entire South Carolina state federation marked a watershed moment in national politics, with the new additions officially making CRA larger than the relic college republican organizations it had seceded from just two months before.

The rest of July saw dozens of new chapters flock to CRA: Massachusetts, Arizona, Minnesota, Idaho, and North Dakota all joined. Additionally, CRA President Will Donahue worked with President Trump’s advance team and drove the senior staff from the Trump campaign during a trip to Los Angeles.

Near the end of July, CRA met its first challenge and approached it head-on. Rumors spread that an anti-discrimination law selectively enforced by California Governor Gavin Newsom was preventing the Cal Poly Pomona University’s Chem-E-Car team from attending the largest chemical engineering conference in the world, all because it was located in Florida; the public university refused to fund the trip over its petty political squabble with Governor Ron DeSantis. 

In just a few short weeks, CRA sprung into action, relentlessly fundraising $6,000 for the team’s travel costs,  largely due to Leo Zacky making a sizable donation. In a matter of days, CRA completed this effort, raising enough money to send the team out to Florida. The effort was so successful that Newsom wound up backing down from using the law to restrict travel. For the first time, CRA’s work was broadcast to the nation with glowing praise from Larry Elder’s podcast and a front-page headline on The Epoch Times.

By August, CRA had not only chartered the entire Tennessee National College Republican organization, but had also brought two influential Republicans onto its advisory board: James Bacon, a senior advisor to the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, and the Hon. Scott Baugh, a candidate for Congress (CA-47) and the Former Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party. Not only was CRA relentlessly fighting for Trump - it was now positioning itself and its loyal members to serve under him in his second term.

Continuing into September, the Arizona College Republicans, the largest CR organization in the nation, agreed to charter with the CRA. Moreover, another national conservative figure joined CRA’s advisory board: Tyler Bowyer, COO of Turning Point Action and RNC National Committeeman from Arizona. September also saw CRA President Donahue getting the opportunity to meet President Trump and his team face to face, representing the first CRA executive to take a picture with the President, and used the chance to bring the Trump team into the know about the growth and work the CRA has done since its founding. 

In October, CRA then became an official sponsor of the Marian Bergeson Excellence in Public Service Series, donating over $1,000 to help develop young female leaders in politics. We also reached another massive milestone, officially chartering 100 chapters and recruiting over 1,500 new freshmen across 21 different states.

In November, the CRA brought yet another massive advisor to its board: Michael Johns, a former White House Presidential Speechwriter and Heritage Foundation Policy Analyst. 

CRA also extended its reach globally, with President Donahue traveling to Serbia with Jack Posobiec and Gavin Wax to speak at the cross-Continental Conservative Congress (C-CCC) hosted by the Serbian People’s Party. During this trip, Donahue signed an international partnership with Lega Giovani, the youth wing of the Italian Lega Nord party and one of the largest conservative youth groups in Europe. 

In January, mere days after ringing in the new year, spurred by his political persecution and presumptive victory, CRA made national headlines by endorsing President Donald Trump. Our proud endorsement was the first time in American history that a national College Republican group openly supported a presidential candidate before or during the Republican primary. Days later, President Donahue made a guest appearance on Human Events with Jack Posobiec and explained why America needed Trump and couldn’t afford a weak substitute.

Honoring its endorsement, CRA showed up in force for Trump in Iowa, helping the Trump team campaign by knocking on hundreds of doors and making 50,000 calls. Just a week later, we did the same in New Hampshire. 

To end January, President Donahue was invited to Turning Point Action’s Restoring National Confidence Summit, where he spoke to an exclusive crowd of the country’s top conservative commentators, activists, and public officials, the latter representing almost 15 million of the country’s most conservative voters. “We need to help President Trump win in this election cycle... we’re boots on the ground,” Donahue declared. “We just had several dozen kids fly in from nine states to campaign in Iowa. We made over 50,000 calls in four days. We are back, and better than ever before.”

February kicked off with a humiliating loss for the NFCR, with many chapters in the home state of NFCR chairwoman Rachel Howard, Louisiana, joining CRA. Three days later, five major chapters from Courtney Britt’s home state of Virginia decided to secede from the CRNC and joined us. 

One day after the Virginia announcement, Saint Mary’s College Republicans, the largest women's-only CR club in the state,  decided to join the ranks. That very same day, the college Republicans at Notre Dame joined. Topping it off, CRA Political Director Chris Fleming met with President Trump in person while they were both in New Hampshire, making him the fourth CRA executive to meet the President. Days later, the entire Kansas Federation of College Republicans seceded from the CRNC and joined CRA, marking yet another massive gain of chapters, members, and resources. The New York Federation of College Republicans, one of the largest and most influential federations in the country, followed suit and voted unanimously to charter with CRA.

February also saw CRA hold massively successful appearances at two of the largest political events in the world: a speech and networking event at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C., and an appearance at the Patriots Network International Conference in Brussels, at which President Donahue was invited as a guest speaker. 

The CPAC event featured national and internationally recognized speakers, including Harald Vilimsky, a member of the EU Parliament; Natalie Winters from Steve Bannon’s War Room; and Joseph Proenza, the Political Director at the American Principles Project. CRA’s breakout room packed more than 100 attendees from around the country inside.

Meanwhile, the Patriots Network International Conference served as yet another massive international networking opportunity. CRA leadership met with representatives from France’s National Rally, Belgium’s Flemish Interest party, and Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party. On several occasions, CRA members even interacted with politicians from the European Parliament. CRA ended February by adding Indiana University and the University of Pittsburgh to its ranks.

In late March,  another viral event sprung from Arizona. On the 27th, we reported that a CRA member at the University of Arizona was retroactively disqualified from a Student Senate position at the University of Arizona (ASUA) on illegitimate charges of election rule violations by left-wing activists in the Student Government, despite his victory being a landslide by wider margins than any other candidate.

Our reporting on the story reached over 16 thousand views on X. Combining the appeal process with a massively successful high-pressure social media campaign, we successfully defended our own; the left yielded and the CRA member was rightfully given his seat in student government.

In April, Vice President Billy Blathras announced that he was running for RNC Delegate in his home state of Wisconsin. After earning an official endorsement from the Trump campaign, Blathras won an overwhelming electoral victory. Wrapping up the month, Rutgers University also fled the NFCR for CRA.

This month of May, we’re proud to welcome the Missouri Federation of College Republicans and the Harvard College Republicans to CRA. CRA also set a one week record of 70,000 calls for Brian Jack’s congressional campaign in Georgia. 

While this is certainly an extensive read with a laundry list of massive achievements, these milestones only scratch the surface of CRA’s impact. The real victories this year haven’t been for us; they're for the forgotten patriots we’ve given a voice to, the bold conservative college students we’re defending relentlessly, and the great American nation we’re fighting like hell for.

Our pledge to our supporters, constituents, and future members is as follows: we will never stop fighting for you, for your well-being, and for the soul of America, so help us God. 

We at CRA News look forward to reporting the even greater work we’ll be doing in our second year, and we’re excited to help our current and future chapters along every step of the way.

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