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Iowa Democrats caucus---in Tucson

Remote caucuses let traveling Iowans participate
Posted at 10:27 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 00:27:58-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - A slice of the Iowa caucuses was in Tucson Monday night. For the first time ever, the Iowa Democratic party worked out satellite caucuses for Iowans away from home

More than 80 Iowa Democrats came together to caucus at the Flowing Wells Library.

We talked to one woman from Iowa who normally stays in Tucson until Spring but is so dedicated to being in the Iowa caucuses she used to go back to that cold midwest winter to participate. The new system of satellite caucuses meant she didn’t have to.

The Iowa caucuses are very different from an election where you fill out your ballot, turn it in and walk away.

People for this or that candidate sit down together and try to convince like minded people to sit with them.

Cindy Cook was happy to walk in and see a full table for Amy Klobuchar

.

“I walked in and when I signed in and I saw that table was full of Amy people and I was excited because we didn’t know, you never know when you go to a caucus who’s going to be there to support your candidate.”

People need to gather enough backers for a candidate to be considered viable—defined as 15 percent of the group. For the group at the Flowing Wells Library that meant get at least eleven backers or be shut out.

The Pete Buttigieg table started out short---but after some suspense won over enough to get their eleven.

Buttagieg backer Steve Wahle says, “This is such a collaborative process . It’s just nice to talk politics. You can do it calmly. Nobody gets upset. And you really learn a lot too. It’s really an SAmerican way of talking politics so different from the contentious way you see now.”

In the end, Amy Klobuchar had the most backers with 21, Joe Biden had 16, Sanders and Warren each had 12 and Buttigieg had eleven. All the other candidates zeroed out.

What the caucuses really decide is how many delegates for each candidate go to the Democratic state convention for Iowa---and that convention decides the delegates who will be backing each candidate when the Democrats hold their national convention to decide their candidate for president.