Texans deserve more from presidential candidates

Derek Poludniak

The countdown to the Texas primary has begun. With less than a month before early voting for the primaries begins, ads are filling the airwaves, and yard signs are popping up on every corner. One thing, however, is still missing — the presidential candidates.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and businessman Donald Trump have made multiple stops in Texas and have campaign offices in Houston and Austin, respectively. However, the 10 other eligible candidates have largely ignored the Republican stronghold that is the Lone Star state. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finally visited Dallas earlier this month, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul opened an office in Austin last March. The remaining eight candidates have had little to no presence in the state for months.

Admittedly, the early voting states are smaller, making it easier for the candidates to complete multiple campaign stops in one day. But they have fewer delegates in the nomination process and a faulty record of choosing the actual nominee. Texas should receive the constant courting of candidates over Iowa or New Hampshire.

Democrats do no better when trying to win over Texans. Today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is fundraising in three Texas cities, but fundraisers limit direct voter contact. Previously, she’s held only a few rallies and won over the support of prominent Texas Democrats. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was late to bring his campaign to Austin in November — including a stop on campus.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) attracted thousands at rallies over the summer but hasn’t returned since. Instead, he relies on his field office in Austin to energize supporters. In Iowa, where Sanders campaigns almost everyday, he’s been able to turn a runaway victory for Clinton into a competitive race. In states where Sanders isn’t present all the time, such as Texas, he remains unknown to many and a distant second to Clinton.

“There are offices and thousands of volunteers all across the state,” psychology junior and member of University of Texas Students for Bernie Sanders Lydia Tsao said. “Although campaign stops in Texas would be appreciated, if we truly want to make Texas a competitive state and win, the real work has to be done by passionate volunteers.”

Texans deserve the same personal attention that Iowans or Granite Staters receive. The voters here have a better grasp of which candidate to support, and the candidates themselves earn name recognition and a larger prize in the form of nominating delegates. If the candidates don’t get trumped in Iowa, their next stop should be the Lone Star State.

Poludniak is an international relations and global studies sophomore from San Antonio. Follow Poludniak on Twitter @DerekPoludniak.