College Republicans gathered around Maine Governor John Baldacci's vehicle on Saturday and chased it down the street as he left the Maine College Democrats of America College Convention Saturday.
Approximately 25 College Republicans stood outside of Moulton Union before, during, and after Baldacci's speech on Saturday afternoon. They chanted phrases and held signs to rally around their candidate, President George W. Bush. Convention attendees and dignitaries could hear the shouts inside Lancaster Lounge, where Baldacci spoke.
"[We] want to make sure that people know that Bowdoin is Bush country," College Republicans Chairman Alex Linhart '06 said before the speech.
"Members of the group were banging on the window," said Democrat Charlie Ticotsky '07. An Orient photographer confirmed the disturbance.
Following his speech, Baldacci spoke with students and gave an interview to the Orient.
In the meantime, College Democrats stood on the steps of Moulton, across the Republicans who chanted phrases like "flip-flop, flip-flop." A security officer stood between the two groups.
Baldacci shook hands with Democrats as he approached his SUV, which was idling in the driveway between Moulton Union and Hyde Hall. Some College Republicans ran in front and on the side of Baldacci's vehicle and waved signs as they yelled.
Democrats moved in with the Republicans on the front and side of the vehicle, which is driven by Baldacci's state police bodyguard, and yelled at them to move away from the SUV.
"I got nudged a little bit," Linhart said minutes after the incident occurred. "I'm a pretty big guy. I could handle it."
Linhart said the Republicans were not trying to stop the Governor from leaving. Linhart was set on standing his ground, he said, until Baldacci was ready to leave the College.
Participants on both sides said Baldacci waved a picture of a crossed-out Bush to the Republicans after he entered the vehicle.
Linhart and two other Republicans then ran alongside Baldacci's SUV and waved signs until they reached College Street.
"Bowdoin loves Bush," he said. "There are students willing to run."
Linhart said the Republicans thought their actions were appropriate.
"I don't think it was disrespectful, because he flashed that picture at me," Linhart said.
Democrat Kevin Larivee '06 was disappointed with the clash. He pointed to last spring's Republican-sponsored lecture by anti-abortion activist Olivia Gans, which many Democrats attended.
"None of them were disruptive," he said.
Larivee said that the Democrats would have welcomed non-disruptive members of other parties. "We would have loved to have them in there," he said.