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Carltalkracy: Carls for… Marco?

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If you are a current Carleton student living on campus who caucused last Tuesday night, you probably went to the Weitz Center.

So why did a group of five first-year Carls caucus at Northfield High School? They weren’t ballot stuffing, as one guesser suggested. They were caucusing for Marco Rubio. Shocking, right?

Not really. More than 20 Carleton students attended the Republican caucus at the high school, according to Henry Liedl ’19, one member of the group of five first-years.

“Being a Republican in Minnesota, where it feels like my vote doesn’t really matter in the general election, I think it’s important to go out and vote when my vote matters,” said Andy Tangen ’19.

The Rubio contingent arrived at the caucus site around 7:00 pm in a room that Tangen described as larger than Sayles. “There were hundreds of people in the room. It was packed,” said Liedl.

“It was fascinating to see the turnout in the community,” added Tangen. “But the room was really lacking in diversity,” noted another first-year student who attended but declined to be named.

Over the course of an hour, candidates for State Senate and State House made short speeches, and caucusgoers had an opportunity to speak in support of the presidential candidates.

Why Rubio, then? “He’s young, energetic, and I agree with him on a lot of important issues,” said Tangen, citing the economy, healthcare, foreign policy, and education.

“Rubio is the lesser of the evils,” added Liedl, who generally identifies as libertarian. “He is more of a 10th amendment supporter: on education, he says it’s up to the states, as he does on same-sex marriage. And as a Catholic, I agree with his views on the dignity of all life.”

Around 7:30 pm, a caucus official asked if any of the attendees wanted to speak on behalf of Donald Trump. A man in the back of the room raised his hand, but when he was called on to speak, he said he actually wanted to speak in support of Rubio. Not a single caucusgoer volunteered to speak for Trump or Dr. Ben Carson.

“I respect [Trump] for speaking his beliefs,” Tangen acknowledged. “But I think that his beliefs are a little too out there and offensive at times, and I wouldn’t want to get behind a candidate who alienates half the country.”

With the support of the Carleton students, Rubio finished first in the precinct. John Kasich and Carson finished tied for second, with Donald Trump in fourth, and Ted Cruz in fifth, earning no delegates.

The group ultimately left after about an hour, when the presidential nominating process was finished. “It’s ninth week,” said Liedl. “We had homework.”

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