Clinton campaign training volunteers leading up to early voting states

Forrest Milburn

Although Texas Democrats won’t get the chance to choose their presidential nominee until March 1, Austin supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered Sunday to learn from national campaign officials on how to efficiently speak to voters.

Officials at the training event said one of the most significant aspects of the campaign’s winning strategy is forming and training teams of volunteers who can accurately and efficiently tell Clinton’s story in no more than 30 seconds.

“You’re going to be asking for one of the most valuable things: someone’s vote,” said Carlos Paz Jr., Texas lead organizer for the Clinton campaign. “You’re going to be asking them for their time and helping you with your missions and endeavors.”

With just seven days left until Iowa Democrats head to the polls on Feb. 1, Clinton campaign officials are aiming to prevent the prospect of a Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) win in Iowa and the other early voting states by training volunteers all around the country.

“One of my biggest fears is that when we get people excited, there’s nowhere to go,” said Amanda Renteria, Hillary for America national organizer. “We now have somewhere to go.”

Although all of the campaigns for president are narrowing their focus to Iowa and New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign is actively building up its infrastructure in the large number of states voting on March 1 — called Super Tuesday for its high delegate count — in case they lose the first two nominating states.

“Our biggest state on Super Tuesday is Texas,” Renteria said. “People ask us [if] Texas matters, and yes it does. It matters [because of] the math.”

Clinton’s platform, which lines up with Sanders and former Marlyand Gov. Martin O’Malley on most issues, has focused on free community college, higher wages, ending racial profiling and passing comprehensive gun reforms.

Government senior Kelly Schaefer said she was inclined to support and volunteer for the Hillary campaign because of Clinton’s clear advantage in electability and focus on gender-related issues.

“You have to have the tools to implement the things you’re talking about,” Shaefer said. “While I totally agree with Bernie, I think that her track record shows over and over again that she has the ability to do what she says she’s going to do.”

The Democratic primary is heavily divided among several demographic lines, with most whites, men and millennial voters being among Sanders’ strongest supporters. On the other hand, Clinton, who leads among people of color and older voters, has her strongest support coming from women.

“Where I see some of our excitement and energy coming from is from these young millennial women,” Renteria said. “For us, it’s you gotta earn every single vote, and we’re going to continue doing it.”