Johnson County was the sole Iowa county Elizabeth Warren won. Her supporters there react to her dropped 2020 bid.

Johnson County, the state’s Democratic stronghold, was the only county in Iowa that Elizabeth Warren won on caucus night. Local endorsers said they are upset to see her go.


Shivansh Ahuja

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Editor

University of Iowa fifth-year student Cesar Perez described the end of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as heartbreaking and infuriating, saying she was the Democratic candidate with the most detailed policies.

“Literally what people have to understand is people picked her because of her policies — her detailed policies, how she’s going to pass every single thing,” said Perez, who held various positions with the Warren campaign on campus, including the political director for Hawkeyes for Warren.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts dropped her bid for the Democratic nomination on Thursday after a weak showing in Super Tuesday states. Johnson County, Iowa’s bluest county, was the only county in the state that went to Warren on the Feb. 3 caucuses. Warren won the county with 33 percent state delegate equivalents, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont with 32 percent.

Some people took to Twitter on Super Tuesday, criticizing Warren for not dropping out to endorse fellow progressive Sanders as an effort to slow former Vice President Joe Biden. Perez said he knows a lot of Warren supporters who do not say Sanders is their second-choice candidate, so he questioned how much that would’ve affected Sanders’ campaign.

“Some Bernie supporters are saying it’s not sexism — what is it then?” Perez said. “If Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or any other male candidate had her policies, they would be winning.”

Warren’s exit leaves Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard as the only woman in the race. Gabbard won two national delegates on Super Tuesday from caucuses in American Samoa.

Warren came in third place in the Iowa caucuses, fourth in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses, and fifth place in the South Carolina primary.

Warren endorser state Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, said he suspected Warren would suspend her campaign because of her lack of traction. He said he thought she ran a really good campaign.

“The issues she talked about and record of accomplishments would have served the country extremely well if she’d been able to be our nominee,” Bolkcom said.

Warren’s key issues included universal free college and child care, Medicare for All, and a broad student-loan debt cancellation system. She planned to pay for most of her plans with a 2-cent wealth tax, which would add a tax to individuals with an income over $50 million.

Bolkcom said he endorsed Warren initially because of her intelligence, and that he’s just as disappointed there aren’t any more major women candidates in the race as he is with Warren dropping out.

“I think it’s time for a woman to be president,” Bolkcom said. “I think women approach problem solving differently I think in some ways than men, and I think the country would have been well served with a woman president.”

Warren’s campaign had one of the most robust organizing operations in Iowa before the caucuses, with about 150 paid staffers, 26 field offices, and thousands of volunteers, according to her campaign. More than half of Warren’s campaign funds came from contributions less than $200.

UI junior Jocelyn Roof, a Warren supporter and executive director of nonpartisan student group Hawk the Vote, said she was heartbroken when she saw the news that Warren dropped out. She said it was inspiring to see her support grow on campus and in the Iowa City community.

Roof said she thinks the activism from Hawkeyes for Warren played a big role in her overall turnout in Johnson County because of its presence on social media and within the community.

Every Warren staffer and volunteer had a “liberty green” background in their Twitter profile picture.

“I’m really disappointed that there aren’t any more women, but that doesn’t mean we can’t elect women to the Senate, to the House of Representatives, or locally as well, so I’ll definitely still be fighting to elect more women down the ballot,” Roof said.