As Mary Ellyse Fendig, a fourth-year biology student at the University of South Carolina, is preparing to graduate and embark on a "new frontier" in her life, her dad is embarking on a new frontier of his own.
Her father, Cap Fendig, is running for president.
"At first, everyone thought it was a joke because my dad's personality is so laid-back," Mary Ellyse said. "He's very fun-loving, but he's very serious about this."
Cap, a Republican, has spent the past eight years as the county commissioner in St. Simons, Ga. Though he doesn't have much political experience, his daughter says he would make a great "leader of the free world," as she jokingly calls the presidency.
Cap, currently in the middle of a grassroots campaign, has appeared on satellite and analog radio stations.
"I am here to represent the 'little guy' of America," Cap said in his mission statement.
Cap's motivation for his presidential run is anything but fun-loving, laid-back or a joke.
"He was really concerned with the way the election was heading," Mary Ellyse said. "From the Republican standpoint, there is no one candidate that stands out above the rest."
Even though her father may not seem like a top contender for president, Mary Ellyse sees the merit in his campaign.
"He does just hold a local office, but he does a lot of state policy and he's very involved in things that affect our county," she said. "But I feel like that's like saying, 'If the Gamecocks thought they couldn't win, they wouldn't still try.' It's a personal ambition of his."
Jennifer Ream, a fourth-year retail student, has been a friend of Mary Ellyse's and known her family since childhood.
"He's always been like a second dad to me," Ream said of Cap. "It doesn't surprise me that he's running."
Mary Ellyse said she and her father do not always agree on all issues, but she was raised to respect other's opinions.
"I think most kids don't agree with everything their parents say," she said. But when it comes to her dad's values, she supports him 110 percent.
Mary Ellyse plans to pursue dentistry after graduation, and one issue she and her father agree strongly about is improving health care.
"A lot of Republican candidates are promising that," Mary Ellyse said of improving the current health care system. "They need to be more detailed ... where is the money going to come from?"
Mary Ellyse has not been able to help with campaigning due to her schedule, but supports her father in his endeavors.
"I'm proud of him. My dad has always taught me to stand up for what I believe in," she said.
© 2007 The Daily Gamecock via U-WIRE