UI Dems stay united after tight race


From left: Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley exit the stage at Sheslow Auditorium at Drake University in Des Moines. The three candidates are at the university for the second Democratic presidential candidate of the presidential nomination election cycle. (The Daily Iowan/Brooklynn Kaschel)

University of Iowa Democrats are remaining neutral until the party selects a nominee — something that won’t happen until July — reflecting the state’s divide between the two candidates, which culminated in a too-close-to-call race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The UI Democrats organization unites students who support the Democratic platform. They don’t endorse any particular candidate, but encourage people to participate in campaigns and caucuses in favor of the party.

And like the rest of the Democratic party, they are seeing a divide.

“Our organization is pretty split for Hillary and Bernie,” UI Democrats vice president Trent Seubert said. “We try not to talk about it in our meetings, but we have discussed it.”

The majority of Johnson County caucus-goers favored Sanders, with 59.5 percent of the votes, while Clinton had 40.2 percent. In some precincts, he was the only viable candidate. Yet, Clinton still maintained a slightly-higher percentage for most of Monday evening.

Despite this local division, the group will remain objective.

“Our organization focuses on unity and what we all agree on as a Democratic party,” UI Democrats president Lauren Freeman said. “We’ve focused on policy issues we care about and what the party’s stance is on it. Even though there are these big campaigns and it can be polarizing for the party, we really try to focus on what we all agree on, too.”

The total results in the state were almost evenly split between the two democratic frontrunners, with candidates, at times, only a few tenths of a percentage point between them.

“The exciting thing about this caucus was the amount of voter turnout,” Freeman said “I’ve seen record-breaking numbers of people getting involved in this caucus, so that was awesome to see. It definitely looks like it’s going to be a tie, so we’re excited to see what happens next.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley had been an underdog throughout the course of the race thus far, which was shown when he received only 0.52 percent of the votes last night. He announced he would be suspending his campaign after his numbers were extremely low.

There is no official organization on campus for Bernie Sanders, but the Hawkeyes For Hillary organization will continue to work to build support for Clinton after this evening.

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