|Sen. Marco Rubio (Wall Street Journal)|
By Brandon Hall
The campaign for 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio tells WMP accusations over a "dishonest ballot access campaign" in a recent article from Chad Selweski are not true.
"Marco is a next generation conservative who is inspiring all segments of the party, especially young people, to support him," Rubio spokesman Caitlin Conant tells West Michigan Politics.
"Students for Rubio is an organic and important volunteer base that we are fortunate to have helping spread Marco's message, and in this case add to his grassroots momentum. Having students willing to travel to Illinois in January to volunteer to walk door-to-door to support Marco is in no way a negative by any stretch of the imagination," Conant said.
This comes after Selweski said that "the Rubio volunteer effort in Illinois failed to collect the minimal amount of signatures needed and then engaged in a last-minute scramble to recruit college volunteers from across the country. No, they were not paid for their work, but they apparently did receive compensation for their flight, hotel, meals and possibly a few other perks.
Here’s an email that went out from Jake Busby of Students for Rubio on New Year’s Eve:
Another less-than-transparent aspect of this campaign operation involves a simple question: Where did all the money come from?
According to Federal Election Commission records, Students For Rubio had $0 on hand throughout the year, through Dec. 31. Is the official Rubio campaign organization going to report these expenses? Did a Rubio superPAC foot the bill for this “volunteer” operation?"
FEC records seem to indicate the group actually has nearly $3,000 from their last report.
Students for Rubio is not officially affiliated with the campaign and is not a campaign organization. It started grassroots style on a college campus, and has grown since.
Selweski also wrote that "as for the near-fiasco in Illinois, Rubio’s campaign people reportedly filed all the necessary paperwork about one hour before the deadline.
So, how hard is it to avoid this drama, to get someone’s name on the ballot and provide a list of Rubio delegates in one of the largest states in the nation?
All the Rubio campaign had to do was secure signatures from 0.5% of registered voters in each of Illinois' congressional districts. In this case, they turned in 5,000 signatures representing support for their candidate in a state with 13 million people.
What’s more, in Illinois last-minute filings mean that those candidates are listed last on the ballot – a very big deal, according to strategists, when a large field is in the running."
However, WMP has learned campaigns apparently met the deadline strategically to be in the lottery for the last place.
As Chad noted, the last-on-the-ballot lottery position is seen as a positive in Illinois, where they recently changed the law to make sure that all candidates who file between 4 and 5 PM have the same opportunity to be entered into that lottery. So to be eligible, you *must* wait until then.