Iowa caucus trip offers insights into political process

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Melissa Nie

A Buttigieg campaign precinct member holds up a sign at Decorah High School, the site of a caucus.

By Melissa Nie, St. Paul Academy and Summit School

Loading duffel bags and suitcases into a coach bus on the morning of Feb. 3, students going on the Iowa caucus trip embarked on a two hour trip to Mason City to see Sen. Amy Klobuchar speak at her rally. The town hall was filled with reporters from KARE 11 to TIME, giving people a chance to talk about their experience with the media.

“It’s not only spending time away from school, but going and seeing how caucusing works,” senior Anjali Tadavarthy said.

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Senior Thomas Bagnoli was interviewed by CBS. “This is awesome. This is what you dream about growing up, and I say that kind of as a nerd of political science. It’s really cool,” Bagnoli said.
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Senior Anjali Tadavarthy being interviewed by KARE 11. ““It’s not only spending time away from school, but going and seeing how caucusing works,” Tadavarthy said.

Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and Governor Tim Walz both gave speeches to introduce Klobuchar, talking about their experiences working with her. Walz described her as an “eternal optimist.” Klobuchar came on stage to a standing ovation and addressed the audience, discussing her hopes for her campaign before she had to fly back to Washington D.C. for the impeachment trials.

“Here I am, nearly a year later, one of the top five candidates in this race. And I have done it with a lot less money and a lot less name identification than many of my opponents,” Klobuchar said.

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Seniors Sydney Therien and Kate Thomas hold up their “win big” posters.
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Senior Paige Indritz holds up an “Amy for America” poster while others wave theirs in the background.
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz introduced Sen. Amy Klobuchar, accompanied by his wife Gwen Walz on stage. “I think it’s that ability to say, ‘Tomorrow’s another day.’ That’s the type of perseverance to go along with [the] optimism that we need in a president,” Walz said.
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Klobuchar giving her speech. “Here I am, nearly a year later, one of the top five candidates in this race. And I have done it with a lot less money and a lot less name identification than many of my opponents,” Klobuchar said.

Students took up an entire side of the town hall, waving posters and showcasing their Amy campaign stickers. After lining up to take a photo with Klobuchar, students rode to Decorah, where they spent Monday visiting Democratic candidate campaign offices and observing the caucuses at different precincts across the town.

At the Decorah precinct 3 caucus held at the Decorah High School, students filled out observer cards in order to enter the site and were instructed to remain in the middle of the auditorium. Precinct captains readily approached them, engaging in discussions about the candidates they represented and handing out stickers. Students left the high school that night with their shirts covered with stickers from various candidates.

The caucus results varied; at Decorah precinct 3, Buttigieg won with Klobuchar coming in second, earning six and five special delegates respectively. At a Luther College caucus, Sanders was first, with Warren and Klobuchar tying for second.

This story was originally published on The Rubicon on February 6, 2020.