The quartet, who call their project "Where is the Red," left from Tampa, Florida in June, and are currently in Gahanna, Ohio. They plan to end their tour in conservative Orange County, California in late August. As they travel, they're doing volunteer work for GOP congressional campaigns, and broadcasting the trip in Twitter updates, blog posts and a Google Maps application tied to their GPS.
"We believe in Republicans, and we know that we have every chance in the world to regain our seats in Congress and win the presidential election," says Christie Jackson, 22, one of the four young Republicans. "We're just trying to draw attention to all the young people who are already excited, and who sometimes get ignored by the media."
Conservative bloggers have been despairing over the enthusiasm gap between supporters of John McCain and those backing Democratic rival Barack Obama. Polling data shows that 60 percent of Democrats under 30 voted for Barack Obama during the primaries, while only 34 percent of Republicans in the same demographic voted for John McCain. Sites like Things Younger Than John McCain poke fun at the presumptive Republican nominee's age, and a torrent of anti-McCain videos are flooding YouTube.
The Republican road trip - organized by the College Republican National Committee -- is meant to energize McCain's younger supporters. All four of the traveling quartet are blogging, and one of them, Chris Caraballo, a 24-year-old film student at the University of Southern California, is shooting video. Joining Caraballo and Jackson on the road are Kerry Donnelly, a 21-year-old Fordham University graduate, and Jeremy Harrell, 22, a University of Miami at Ohio graduate.
"One reason we're using the technology that we're using now is to draw attention to the fact that there are new, interesting, relevant, and extremely efficient ways to get information to people," says Jackson, who just graduated from Clemson University. "That's why we're keeping track of our trip ... through our blog and other Web 2.0 tools."
The venture's use of syndication, GPS and mapping software is generally more interesting than the content of the entries themselves -- many of which document the tedium of volunteer political work, with discourses on envelope-stuffing and other office tasks, though they occasionally produce video spots, like this faux-public service spot in Ohio's contested 15th congressional district.
Jackson is excited to be fighting for her party, at a time when the GOP is widely expected to suffer significant losses on Capitol Hill. The Cook Political Report predicts that Democrats could pick up between five and seven seats in the Senate and 12 and 17 seats in the House this year. The report says that the presidential race is a toss-up.
"I think it's really been encouraging," Jackson says of her trip thus far. "I think all of us feel really excited for November, and I think that's one of the reasons we're doing this. It's to show that Republicans our age are excited about winning in November."