College Democrats host caucus fair for 2020 hopefuls


Jake Webster/Iowa State Daily

The Iowa State College Democrats hosted a 2020 presidential caucus fair Wednesday. The campaigns of candidates who qualified for the October presidential debate were invited to speak and provide information to potential caucus-goers on their candidates.

Katherine Kealey

The Iowa State College Democrats hosted a 2020 presidential caucus fair Wednesday on Iowa State’s campus.

The campaigns of Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren attended the event.

At 11:30 a.m. the event was moved inside the Memorial Union due to worsening weather conditions.

The goal of the event was to provide a speed-dating style event for people to get to know more about the Democratic candidates before the next debate, and hopefully figure out who to vote for, said Abigail Meehan, communications director of the Iowa State College Democrats and sophomore in political science.

“A lot of students don’t know who is running, or who they want to vote for,” Meehan said. “It is something they should start figuring out, because it will get more important once caucus season starts rolling around.”

Shortly after noon, “soapbox speeches” were given by campaign representatives, giving all the campaigns still present at the event a chance to make their candidate’s case for the presidency.

Lydia Greene, sophomore in political science and Iowa State College Democrats co-president, went on Facebook Live to broadcast those soapbox speeches to provide students with a chance to know more about the different candidates.

The addresses began with Buttigieg campaign representative Cody Woodruff, senior in political science.

Woodruff talked about Buttigieg’s time as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as well as the mayor’s service in Afghanistan for seven months.

Buttigieg’s platform includes “Medicare for All who want it,” and affordable college tuition, Woodruff said.

Ashton Ayers spoke for the Sanders campaign.

“We started organizing on campus in January because we wanted to draft Bernie Sanders to run for president,” Ayers said. “So we circulated petitions, we have been outside in the rain and the wind fighting for this, because we know it is going to take all of us to get this.”

Ayers said Sanders believes issues such as health care, education, and housing are all human rights, but to do all of those things they have to bring people together first. 

Ryan Ford, senior in political science, is working as a fellow to the Harris campaign.

Ford said he appreciates how Harris looks at policy, and will get things done in a quick manner while impacting the most amount of people.

“I think students really appreciate what she has to say, but right now we are in the process of getting her message out to students,” Ford said. “I think her outlook is good; this is a really long process and if you look at polling numbers, there are still 50 percent of people who still have not made a decision. I think once she gets her message out there people will gravitate towards it.”

Iowa is the first state to hold a caucus and Meehan said she believes that makes it all the more critical for students to be informed. 

“Since we live in Iowa we have a really important job trying to pick the best nominee for the job when it comes to next November,” Meehan said. “Students here definitely should be a part of this, it’s exciting.”