Hundreds of students take part in caucus around Iowa State


Students and community members gathered to caucus Monday in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

Lauren Ratliff

Students and community members gathered at their respective caucus locations throughout Ames late Monday.

In the Sun Room of the Memorial Union, 331 people were in attendance. Students were a large portion of the people participating in that caucus.

Kaitlin Hansen, sophomore in software engineering, said she thinks it’s important for young Americans to use their voice. 

“We are the next generation, and if there are changes that we want to see happening, we have to go out and stand up for what we believe in,” Hansen said. “Being involved in caucusing is a great way to do that.” 

In order for candidates to move past the first round, they must reach a 15 percent caucusgoer threshold. In order to hit the 15 percent, candidates in the Sun Room needed at least 50 people to stand with their candidate.

There were six candidates represented in the first round of the caucus in the Sun Room, along with an undecided group. Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar were all represented in the first round of the votes. 

Of those seven groups, four reached the 15 percent threshold and moved on to the second round. 

There were five delegates up for grabs, and Sanders received two of those. Sanders ended the first round with 137 total votes and gained two more during the realignment. 

“I really think Bernie’s platforms are important, especially his plan for free tuition and ideas about healthcare,” said Brenna Hartse, sophomore in mechanical engineering who is supporting Sanders.

Olivia Gasper, senior in music, also chose to support Sanders during the caucuses and said she had been between Sanders and Warren.

“I was really between Liz and Bernie, but I think for right now this is the place I’m gonna stay in,” Gasper said. “Health care and education issues are definitely important things for me, and I know Warren and Sanders are very similar on those issues, which was such a hard deciding factor.”

Warren and Yang both received 60 votes in the Sun Room, earning them a single delegate each.

Rylee Matthews, sophomore in chemical engineering, said she was supporting Warren during the caucuses.

“I definitely agree with a lot of her plans,” Matthews said. “From a woman’s standpoint, she definitely knows where a lot of us are coming from when it comes to women’s healthcare.”

Buttigieg’s 72 votes earned him a delegate in the Sun Room as well. 

To begin the precinct in the Sun Room, 11 caucusgoers were undecided. One of them was Blair Bennis, senior in agronomy.

“I’m a little bit undecided,” Bennis said. “For me, it has to be someone who has had experience either in the Senate or in politics. It has to be someone who can unite the parties together. One of the most important things to me is making sure that we’re uniting both parties to be able to pass legislation through.”

James Burke, junior in aerospace engineering, said he was undecided about which caucus to attend.

“I thought about going to the Republican caucus, but Trump will be the nominee, so I felt like coming here allowed me to help choose the candidates that I like the best,” Burke said.

Burke ended up caucusing for Yang.

“I like his ability to reach across the aisle, particularly his immigration ideas,” Burke said.

At the Scheman Building, Michael Peterson, freshman in genetics, said he chose to support Buttigieg.

“I am caucusing for Pete because I have been to quite a few of his events, and I really believe in a lot of the things he talks about,” Peterson said. “I am partially on the fence because there are so many candidates that I think have a very good chance of winning. Down the line, if one of the other candidates wins the nomination, I’m pretty much going to vote for anyone who isn’t Donald Trump.”

Reporting contributed by Avery Staker.