by Jay Caruso
COLUMBIA, SC - It's primary day in South Carolina. Early on when I arrived it was interesting to note that while in downtown Columbia, I encountered zero Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Donald Trump supporters. People were out at the local farmers market and doing what they normally do on the weekends. At the statehouse, there was a lone Hillary Clinton supporter named Bob waving a sign around and some Chinese protestors who were there on behalf of ex-NYPD officer Peter Liang, who was convicted last week of manslaughter in the accidental shooting of Akai Gurley. But not much primary activity.
A little later on, I stopped by the Columbia headquarters of Marco Rubio. I spoke initially with Jordan Russell, the local communications director on how things were going. He said volunteers had made approximately 20,000 phone calls out of that location yesterday and that they were confident in how Rubio was doing and felt they had momentum going into tonight. I had heard from an outside source that Rubio's digital team had issues in Iowa and New Hampshire collecting data because the app they were using kept crashing. As such they had to switch to forms that were then scanned and sent back to HQ. Russell denied this saying he was in Iowa and there were no technical issues.
After getting some photos I took a few moments to speak with a volunteer. Grace, a 19 year old freshman at the University of South Carolina was making calls for Senator Rubio and she remarked that she had a strong interest in policy.
Her view is, Rubio is the best candidate on policy and so I asked her to discuss one of the policies he has put forth that she likes best. She immediately brought up the issue of student loans and student loan debt and said Rubio's plan would work best. Rubio's plan (from his website) is broken out like this:
- Establish income-based repayment (IBR) as the universal repayment method for federal student loans;
- Empower new borrowers to make loan payments in proportion to what they earn, and give graduates the option of consolidating existing loans into the new, simplified IBR system.
Grace also spoke of Rubio's idea to get the private market involved with helping students pay for their secondary education. Again, from Rubio's website:
- Allow students to apply for innovative “Student Investment Plans” from approved investors to help Americans finance postsecondary education without taking on the burden of student loans;
- Establish legal, accountable framework for students to repay loans based on what they earn after college.
All in all they seemed to have a good operation going. Volunteers looked relaxed and confident. Here are some additional photos:
We’ll continue to bring your observations from South Carolina throughout today and into tonight. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more.