Before the presidential election hits the Sunflower State, The Eagle asked voters who represent a cross-section of the community to talk about who they support among the five leading candidates – and why.
By March 16, more than half of Republican and Democratic delegates will have been awarded. Kansas’ caucuses take place Saturday, right in the middle of this big push.
Kansas’ caucuses are small, but could be important, given how close the races are.
The winners will receive just under 1 percent of all Democratic delegates and just under 2 percent of Republican delegates.
Today, we hear from Marco Rubio supporters.
Coming later this week, supporters of: Bernie Sanders (Thursday) and Donald Trump (Friday).
Glen Armbruster, 67
Glen Armbruster is tired of Republicans who want to shut down the government.
“The Republican Party has been hijacked by the vocal conservative right wing,” he said. “I’d like to see the Republican party go back the other way. People like Bob Dole and some of the Republicans in days of old.”
Rubio, he said, isn’t the kind of person who thinks “that government shouldn’t be able to do anything.”
Armbruster is retired and is afraid that some states will try to take over Medicare. “That would be a travesty,” he said. “It would fall into the hands of the same people that are screwing up the schools and the pension system. As soon as they see a pile of money to cover the state budget, they would be grabbing for it.”
He doesn’t care for candidates like Trump and Sanders, who “are fluff to me, and don’t have any policy they are sticking to.” He prefers candidates like Rubio, Bush, Clinton and Chris Christie, who he said have more positive policies.
Morgan Anderson, 20
Morgan Anderson has been a Republican since she was 16. She founded the Sedgwick County Teenage Republicans. Now she’s the co-chair of the Campus Federation of College Republicans at Wichita State.
Recently it’s been hard to tell other students she’s a Republican. “They associate me and my party and things I believe with the radical things Trump says. To see the support he gets nationally is terrifying. It’s detrimental to the Republican Party’s image,” Anderson said.
Anderson said she was attracted to the party because she has a little brother with Down syndrome and she said her stepmother felt pressured to have an abortion.
Rubio is the first Republican candidate who speaks with the kind of optimism that Clinton, Sanders and Obama do, she said. She went to a Rubio rally in Iowa and called it “indescribable.”
“I had goose bumps on my arms sitting there and listening to his speech, the passion that he speaks with: I was completely enveloped by the Marco Rubio campaign,” she said. “He had spoken about his faith in such a passionate way and spoke with such a sense of urgency.”