Caucusing around campus: Republican

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Caucusing around campus: Republican


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Many caucus-goers gathered at Peet Junior High School for the Republican caucus Monday night. The lines were so long that people like Jennifer Davenport, who arrived at the school at 6:20 p.m., did not get into the school until around 7:15 p.m. Due to the unexpected turnourt, voter registration forms ran out quickly.

Some UNI students were voting for the first time, like Samuel Ogilvie, junior music education major.

“It’s really an exciting experience,” Ogilvie said. “This is probably one of the most profound things we can do as citizens of the U.S. is vote in elections, because they impact our future and it will have an impact on everything we do for the next who knows how many years.”

The general mood in the caucus rooms was congenial and social. Friends ran into friends, families brought their children and people generally didn’t try to debate one another’s opinions in the downtime.

There was little debate and lines were clearly drawn in each caucusing room. People sat in groups toting “Marco Rubio” shirts, and one man had a “Cruz U.S.A.” jersey. People also had stickers and pins for support of Rand Paul as well as other contending candidates. Many opted not to promote their vote, retaining their right to privacy in their ballots.

Some people who came to caucus were still undecided. Cedar Falls resident Clint Carpenter was one such person, but he knew what he was looking for in a candidate.

“Someone who’s pretty middle of the road, fiscally conservative, but a little more lax on social issues,” Carpenter said.

Jonathan Haverdink, senior music education major, said he was looking for “sound character and well standard morals” in his candidate.

Due to the high influx of people, the caucusing was delayed to about 7:30 p.m. A few experienced voters compared it to caucuses in the past.

“That doesn’t bother me,” Terry Townsend, seasoned caucus voter, said.

“Sometimes it’s more organized, sometimes it’s less organized. We went to the Dome a few years ago and it was totally disorganized,” said Randall Busche, a Cedar Falls insurance agent.

“I’ve caucused two caucuses ago actually on the democratic side,” Amy Ruby said. “I’m aligned more closely to what they [Republicans] feel is important to the country and our goal, and that’s why I decided to be on the Republican side this time.”

There is a difference in the Republican and Democratic caucus process.

Before the ballots were passed around, people had an opportunity to speak on the behalf of the listed candidates.

“I could vote for Trump. I’d have to hold my nose, but I could do it,” said one Rubio supporter.

“We had a lot of college students here in our room,” Meredith Miller, sophomore communications major, said. “Rubio won in our room, so we had 140 votes. Rubio won about 70 of them.”

However, it would be Ted Cruz who would go on to win the majority in the state of Iowa according to the Iowa GOP website, but Rubio came in third just behind Trump.

“It’s a good privilege we Iowans get to take part in,” Haverdink said. “I know there are a lot of others who would like to take part in this.”

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