Truman State sits a mere 30 miles from the Iowa border, so it isn’t surprising that many Truman State students who call Iowa home chose to travel to their caucus Monday night.
For many students, the Iowa caucuses are the first significant political events they have the opportunity to participate in. For Truman students who attended the caucus, each student’s experience depended on the environment of their precinct.
Junior Luke Bishop attended a Republican caucus even though he says he usually doesn’t identify as either Republican or Democrat. He says since he likes the major Democratic candidates equally, he thought his vote would be more powerful applied to the Republican ticket.
At the Republican caucuses each candidate’s representative is given a chance to speak before the attendees submit their votes by secret ballot.
“It’s definitely different from the Democratic caucus,” Bishop says. “Someone had the opportunity to speak for each candidate.”
Bishop says only about half the Republican candidates had someone to represent and speak for them at his caucus.
Bishop says the his caucus had a turnout of more than 250 people, and he says he recognized a lot of the people who attended. Since the caucuses are organized by precincts, there were a lot of people from his neighborhood.
“I was really struck by how local and neighborhood based it really was,” Bishop says. “I really felt it was very local, very intimate.”
Sophomore Kyra Cooper attended her first caucus Monday night, though Cooper says she participated in a mock caucus in high school. She attended a Republican caucus in her home precinct of Windsor Heights and then a candidate’s after party.
Cooper says her goal of the evening was to be elected to serve as the delegate for the national convention.
Cooper says it’s been harder to follow the candidates this year while at Truman as opposed to when she was a sophomore in high school.
“I’ve been a little bit more removed,” Cooper says. “They’re not reaching out to me as much anymore.”
Junior Addie Schmitz traveled to Iowa to volunteer with the 2016 committee associated with the Ben Carson campaign. Schmitz says the committee is a group of grassroots activists she joined in October that does a lot of the ground work for campaigns.
Schmitz says she’s been making a lot of phone calls for the committee.
“Being a busy Truman student, I haven’t been able to participate with the door knocking and whatnot,” Schmitz says.
Schmitz traveled with a group of College Republicans to a caucus in Ottumwa, Iowa, where they volunteered to help staff the caucus and help with the recount of the votes.
One thing Schmitz says she noticed while volunteering with the campaign is the reaction older voters have to seeing a younger voter associated with a campaign.