Bernie Sanders narrowly wins UI mock caucus over Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang

Over 200 participants attended Hawk the Vote’s mock caucus Friday evening, where Bernie Sanders had a close victory over Elizabeth Warren.


Tate Hildyard

on Friday, January 31st, 2020. The Mock Caucus is a sponsored event designed to train students for the upcoming Iowa Caucuses. (Tate Hildyard/The Daily Iowan)

Rylee Wilson, Politics Reporter

Bernie Sanders narrowly clinched victory over Elizabeth Warren at a mock caucus at the IMU Friday night, where student campaign representatives sported bright t-shirts and banners from nearly every presidential candidate. 

Over 200 people attended the event ahead of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, which was the biggest mock caucus event in the University of Iowa’s history, according to student-organization Hawk the Vote. Student supporters from most Democratic campaigns, as well as the Trump campaign, were at the event, where students had the chance to experience a caucus before Monday night. 

Both the Sanders and the Warren campaigns drew large groups of potential first-time caucusgoers, gathering in opposite corners of the room.

The Sanders campaign narrowly won out in the end, with a final total of 74 likely caucusgoers to Warren’s 70. Andrew Yang came in third place with 52 caucusgoers, leaving the three candidates viable after the first alignment. 

Out of nine possible delegates, Sanders received four, Warren received three, and Yang received two. 

Campaigns tried to win over undecided voters, with groups from the Warren and Sanders campaigns chanting and waving signs from across the room. 

Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg were all not viable after the first alignment. 

UI fourth-year Jacob Gordon caucused undecided on the first round, but was swayed by the Warren campaign. He said the experience of caucusing was overwhelming, but he feels more prepared for Monday evening after having made a decision on which candidate to support. 

“I really wanted to hear people’s personal reasons for why they chose a certain candidate and I wanted to feel the passion that they would have for [a candidate], and that’s how I ended up choosing Warren,” Gordon said. 

Claire Player, 19,  a first-year student supporting Warren, said she had previously attended a Repubican caucus with her parents in 2016, but will participate for the first time this year. 

Player said she came to the event to express her support for Warren and to get a feel for what the room will be like on caucus night. 

“I think tonight will help. It’s such a weird night and it’s unlike anything I’ve done,” Player said. 

President Trump won the Republican caucus with 14 votes, though 10 votes went to challenger Joe Walsh and another nine votes went to Bill Weld. 

Malachi Rocco, 20, a third-year student supporting the Trump campaign, said he plans to caucus for the first time on Monday night. 

The Iowa Republican Party will hold a straw poll, while early-voting states Nevada and South Carolina canceled their Republican caucuses and primary respectively, in solidarity with the president.

“I felt this would be a good testing the waters kind of deal, so I’m happy to come out and support the president,” Rocco said. “If a lot of Republicans turn out the caucus, it will encourage other Republicans to go out and vote in November.” 

Although Republican challengers Walsh and Weld had several supporters at the mock caucus, Rocco said he does not personally know of anyone planning to caucus for a Republican candidate besides Trump. 

Sameer Ali, 21, a fourth-year student, said he was a month shy of being old enough to caucus in 2016. Ali said he’s committed to caucus for Sanders on Monday.

“I haven’t actually participated in a caucus prior, so I wanted to get a break-in period. I know some people on the campaign, and I wanted to come out and support [Sanders,] especially when I had heard there was going to be so much Warren support,” Ali said.


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