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Cruz, Rubio Campaign in Pickens County

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex., bottom) speaks to a crowd outside of Seneca Family Restaurant on Wednesday. 
Sarah Kait Hollenbeck, Contributor

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex., bottom) speaks to a crowd outside of Seneca Family Restaurant on Wednesday. 

The South Carolina Republican primary took place this past Saturday, drawing a record number 730,000 voters, according to the Washington Examiner. Businessman Donald Trump won the primary with 32.4 percent of the vote. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who led a campaign rally at the Madren Center on Saturday, came in second. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who campaigned at the Seneca Family Restaurant on Wednesday, placed third. 

Rubio received 22.4 percent of the vote, while Cruz garnered 22.3 percent, 0.1 percent (1,122 votes) less than Rubio.

During his rally, Rubio addressed college affordability, promising to make higher education more affordable.

Machaella Reisman, a senior political science major, said that one of the main reasons she chose to support Rubio instead of Cruz was Rubio’s view on student debt. 

“[Rubio] supports a loan repayment process based on income after graduation,” Reisman said. “So if you make a higher salary after college, you can repay it faster than someone who’s making less, and those with lower income don’t have to worry about defaulting on student loans.”

Cruz, who was in Seneca last Wednesday for a meet-and-greet at Seneca Family Restaurant, did not comment on student debt. In 2014, Cruz opposed the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. The bill would have allowed for refinancing of student loans at lower interest rates for over 25 million people, according to

Gilbert Smolenski, a senior mechanical engineering major, supports Cruz for reasons other than student debt. 

“I like Ted Cruz because even though he is already in Congress, he is not with the Establishment,” he said. 

“I like his constitutionalist values; I like the way that he defends the constitution and stands for the constitution.”

Rubio also discussed the military, saying he would keep Guantanamo Bay open and increase military size and spending.

According to, Rubio believes the U.S. military needs a “serious program of reinvestment and modernization—boosting the size of our forces to do the jobs we ask them to do, and modernizing them to meet the threats they will face.”

Cruz spoke about increasing military size and funding as well, saying, “We will rebuild the military and honor our commitments made to every U.S. soldier and sailor and airman and marine.”

According to, Cruz will make a military  that will “secure our children without bankrupting them.”

Both Cruz and Rubio discussed the importance of U.S. veterans. 

“We are going to take care of our veterans,” Rubio said. 

In Seneca Cruz spoke about “fundamentally reforming the VA so that every veteran has the right to choose his or her doctor.”

Rubio and Cruz both commented on Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders during their events. “Socialism doesn’t work,” Rubio said, commenting on Sanders’ policies. 

Sanders, who is a U.S. senator from Vermont, was in Greenville on Sunday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. As of Sunday, Sanders trailed Clinton in South Carolina polls by an average of 24 points.

The Nevada Republican Caucus is on Feb 23. Nevada polls show Donald Trump at 42 percent, followed by Cruz at 20 percent and Rubio at 19 percent.

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