New Satellite Caucuses Allowed Iowans In Milwaukee To Participate

Feb 4, 2020

For the first time Monday, Iowans outside of the state were able to participate in the Iowa caucus. This year the Iowa Democratic Party opened up the caucus process for college students, people traveling, and others temporarily out of state. They were able to gather at satellite locations, including in Milwaukee.

Eight Iowans registered and seven showed up at Marquette University where the satellite caucus was held. They assembled to select delegates for their choice of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Jason Rae, secretary for the Democratic National Committee, says, "A candidate must get 15% of those caucusing tonight to be considered what’s called viable. To be viable with the eight, [each candidate will need] two people,” says Rae.

He indicated the process could take some time.

“If for some reason there’s candidates considered ‘non-viable,’ if there’s one person at a candidate they get a period to what’s called ‘re-align’ and move to another candidate that’s already deemed ‘viable.’ It’s people getting up and publicly displaying who they want and moving about the room,” explains Rae.

The caucus, however, lasted roughly 30 minutes including party business before the vote. No candidates were deemed unviable.

Rae announced that this satellite caucus was awarded four delegate equivalents. Amy Klobuchar received one delegate, Bernie Sanders one delegate and Elizabeth Warren two delegates.

Cooper Warner participated in a caucus last election in Des Moines, Iowa, where she says the process took a considerable amount of time.

“The first one I did, I did in college. There were about 300 people. That one took about three-and-a- half hours. This has been a lot more efficient,” says Warner.

She says a lot of time was spent on procedures and moving everyone around the room to discuss the pros and cons of the candidates.

A crowd of supporters surpassed the number of participants at the satellite Iowa caucus procedures in Milwaukee at the Marquette University campus.
Credit Olivia Richardson

Most people at the Marquette satellite caucus were Marquette students. But Evan McCarthy is from Iowa City, Iowa, and an attorney here in Milwaukee while his girlfriend goes to school at Marquette law. McCarthy put his support behind Warren.

“I’m an immigration attorney. I think a lot of the things her plan covers are over-looked by other candidates. It seems like she and her staff have done more of the work and it would be a better day one,” says McCarthy. 

Steve Wallace is a precinct captain for Amy Klobachar and has been backing her for 35 years. He says he loves her drive for public service.

“She wants to help the most number of people and she’s won her state by 20 percentage points,” says Wallace.

Maaz Ahmed was one of the organizers of the satellite caucus in Milwaukee. He said he was happy with the turnout — even though fewer than 10 Iowans were there to participate.

“Everything counts. Every piece builds towards the greater good,” says Ahmed.

Ahmed noted that the number of observers far exceeded participants. The observers appeared engaged and seemed to appreciate the chance to watch part of the election process in action.

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