ELECTION 2020

Voices from Iowa

Voters talk about their preferred candidates and what it means to go first.

As Iowa Democrats prepared to make their choices for a presidential nominee Monday in the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses, Star Tribune reporters headed south to ask voters who they're supporting and what it's like when your home is the center of the political universe.​

Stacey Schempp, 53 Des Moines

Occupation:

IT support

Top caucus choices:

Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar

What she said:

"I’m more new to the process. I caucused once before. I caucused in ’08 for Obama. For the most part, I have been a little more passive in politics, but I just can’t sit back anymore after what’s going on."

Brendan Dunphy, 36 Ames

Occupation:

Documentary filmmaker and carpenter

Top caucus choices:

Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren

What he said:

"The fun thing about the Iowa caucus is that an embedded policy in the caucus is for people to convince each other who the best person is, the best candidate is, so I think that I will rely on good old-fashioned human interaction at the caucus to determine who to caucus for."

Sue Seidenfeld, 68 Waukee

Occupation:

Retired physician assistant

Top caucus choices:

Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden

What she said:

"We have a love-hate relationship with the caucus to some degree. We get tired of the phone calls, we get tired of the mailings. But it’s a real opportunity, and we are lucky to be first in the nation, and I think most of us take it seriously and give everyone a chance."

Cheuang Kavan, 50 Decorah

Occupation:

Machine operator

Top caucus choice:

Undecided but leaning toward Pete Buttigieg

What he said:

"Every day we get texts from candidates, we get bombarded with phone calls. Crazy, crazy. I'm sure today will be another crazy day. "

Mary Lewis, 72 Decorah

Occupation:

Retired biology instructor

Top caucus choices:

Elizabeth Warren

What she said:

"I tend toward the older candidates, although the younger ones are impressive. For my age, I know I had a lot to learn at the age of 38."

Bridget Blair, 24 Sioux City

Occupation:

Political fundraising

Top caucus choices:

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg

What she said:

"I think people are kind of like me, trying to decide whether they want to vote for a candidate because they agree with their values or because they want to find somebody that will take Trump away. We don’t have another four years. Do you go with your gut of who you think you can win or do you go with somebody who really aligns with what you want for a president?"

Harper Sullivan, 19 Ames

Occupation:

Iowa State University student

Top caucus choice:

Amy Klobuchar

What he said:

"No one understands how important the caucuses are. We are trying to get Donald Trump out of office. Everyone's afraid World War III is going to happen and it's unfair to us [young people]. When you turn 18, you have the right to get drafted into the military if that ever happens. And we don't want to go."

Lisa Hogan, 55 Johnston

Occupation:

Works in cosmetics

Top caucus choices:

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren

What she said:

"All of our candidates are good. Honestly, I’m going to vote for whoever ends up being the nominee. Any of them. I’m going to vote blue no matter who."

LeAnne Clausen de Montes, 41 Mason City

Occupation:

Presbyterian pastor and community organizer

Top caucus choice:

Tulsi Gabbard

What she said:

"In round one, I try to find someone who has a really solid voting record but is getting the least amount of press in Iowa. So for me that person is Tulsi Gabbard ... She is a member of Congress who has been around for a while and is also a woman of color. So I'd like to see her get [a ticket] out of Iowa."

Ibrahim Jadoon, 26 Richmond, Ky.

Occupation:

Human rights litigation

Volunteering for:

Bernie Sanders

What he said:

"If there’s even going to be a once-in-a generation candidate like Bernie, it’s going to start in Iowa. History’s going to be made one way or the other next Monday. You don’t know when you’re living in a historical moment. I heard about the polls, I heard Bernie was going good and I said we’ve got to bring it home."