The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Vivek Ramaswamy, Asa Hutchinson among Republican presidential candidates speak at Cy-Hawk tailgate

Small-time candidates stumped at the tailgate ahead of Cy-Hawk football game on Saturday. Former President Donald Trump attended the game.
Emily Nyberg
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during the 4th District tailgate Presidential Rally in Nevada, Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. The tailgate featured speeches from republican Presidential candidates, Governor Kim Reynolds, and U.S. representative Miller-Meeks.

Approximately 100 people were in attendance, with appearances from candidates including biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Texas businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, and Rev. E.W. Jackson. 

Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Hutchinson were seen at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday. Trump attended the game from a private viewing area at the top of the stadium. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was also in attendance and said she wants to set a record for the number of Iowans taking part in the Iowa caucuses come January. The Iowa Republican caucus is set for Jan. 15, 2024.   

“We want to have a blowout so that we can show the country why we are the first in the nation caucus, that we take this role seriously,” Reynolds said. “We’re engaged, we understand the issues, we ask the right questions, and we’re making a difference.”

Ramaswamy: “American dream is on life support”

Candidate Ramaswamy said Americans are replacing their belief in faith, patriotism, hard work, and family with “new religions” such as “woke-ism,” “transgenderism,” “covid-ism,” and “depression-ism.” 

He told the crowd conservatives need to develop their own vision rather than criticizing opposing views. 

At 38 years old, Ramaswamy is the youngest Republican to run for president. 

To stimulate the economy, he plans to lay off  75 percent of federal employees, terminating positions “that should not exist” with “layoffs across the board,” including shutting down the IRS, FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Department of Education. 

Ramaswamy also aims to declare independence from China and revive national pride using American identity and ideals from the American Revolution

As a child of legal immigrants to America, he believes a person’s first act of entering the country cannot be breaking the law. Ramaswamy said he would use the military to secure and seal the southern borders and the northern border if necessary. 

In contrast with some opponents, Ramaswamy considers himself friends with Trump, and said Trump would be his “most important mentor and adviser.” 

Kate Padilla, a member of the Clay County Republican Party, said she loves being the first nation caucus in a state with many small towns. 

“We get access to candidates that no other state gets,” Padilla said.  

Hutchinson rebuts nickname, talks border

Hutchinson, who also served in federal law enforcement under the Bush administration, said he provides a depth of experience at the state and federal level no other candidates offer. 

He defended himself against a statement made by Trump, who called him “Ada” earlier this week during the Monumental Leaders Rally in Rapid City, South Dakota. Hutchinson said he will not be intimidated by Trump. 

“I announced early on that I was going to the Iowa-Iowa State game and guess what — we wound up having President Trump come, too,” Hutchinson said on Saturday. 

Hutchinson is among the few candidates who criticize Trump. 

“We need a new direction, and it starts with Iowa,” Hutchinson said. 

Hutchinson beckoned for traditional, conservative ideals during his stump on Saturday. He said America needs to return to the principles upheld by Former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. 

Hutchinson also pushed border security as one of his priorities for office, noting fentanyl as a major problem. 

Hutchinson pushed for more border security and patrol, saying he would rebuild a southern border wall. Additionally, he would reform immigration asylum laws and declare Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.

Hurd cautioned about artificial intelligence 

Former CIA agent and Congressman from Texas Will Hurd spoke at the tailgate about growing up with interracial parents who moved to a neighborhood because it was the only one that would sell homes to people of color. 

“Fast forward 35 years and their son was a member of Congress,” Hurd said. “That’s pretty amazing that kind of progress. That’s what America is about.”  

Hurd largely spoke about the impact of technology, such as artificial intelligence, and how it can be used as border security and a tool to benefit the economy.  

Hurd said AI will affect American industries in the next couple of years, and that it is important for people to understand how to use the technology. . 

Regarding southern border control, Hurd shared sentiments with Hutchinson. Hurd included his idea of investing in more than just a wall, but a digital shield. He said drones and AI sensors should be used in areas not quickly accessible to border patrol. 

Hurd also spoke about his plan to grow the economy by eliminating achievement gaps in schools and said AI could become an accessible tutor for students. 

Trump skips, Leffler attends in his stead

Former President Donald Trump was not in attendance at the rally, however, Gary Leffler was present and advocated for Trump.

Leffler, who in 2022 ran to become the GOP candidate for Iowa’s Third Congressional District, spoke on the power the former president has, touting Trump’s accomplishment in appointing three conservative Supreme Court justices and his criticism of inflation during the Biden administration. 

“The goal in this case is yes, I want Donald J. Trump to be our next president, 100 percent, yes,” Leffler said. “But the ultimate goal is that Joe Biden is no longer president.” 

Jane Henderson, a Woodbury County resident, said she looks for honesty in a candidate and she will back the Republican nominee no matter who it is because “what we have now is unacceptable.” 

Binkley makes pitch for second debate

After missing the first Republican debate, Ryan Binkley gave his strategy for the second debate in an interview with The Daily Iowan.

Binkley plans to “share a compelling vision for America that really invites us to a new country that sees things differently.”

Binkley said Republican candidates are running on the same platforms, and many are running on the same platforms Trump did in the 2016 election. 

“It’s like our party has a big rearview mirror in front of it,” Binkley said. “We don’t know whether to look back or move forward. I’m saying we ditch the rearview mirror. We’ve got to move forward.” 

Jackson calls himself most conservative candidate

Candidate Jackson told the crowd he wants to defend the country against those who would turn it into a “totalitarian, Marxist, socialist, state.”

He considers himself the most conservative candidate because of his zero-tolerance policy on border security. 

Jackson said he plans to finish the wall and uphold a policy that makes it clear to the world that America does not allow illegal immigration, and push for heavy deportation of illegal immigrants. 

He took a strong stance on reproductive rights stipulating his strong anti-abortion views, and stated he would close all equity, diversity, and inclusion offices in the government and military. 

Jackson stated he wants to make America a meritocracy — a society in which people have success, power, or influence based on their demonstrated abilities and merit. 

“My vision for America is to come back to constitutional governance for us to come back to family as God designed it,” Jackson said. 

Burgum appeals to small-town values 

Candidate Burgum touted small government policies and discussed the importance of  “cutting red tape” in government and stands on the platform that the government needs to “stay in its lane.”

Burgum stated that the federal government is failing at the few things it delegates, such as food security, national security, and energy. 

Burgum spoke on his improvements to North Dakota and how he can apply them to a larger scale. 

“It’s time to start believing that we can send somebody from the heartland to the White House,” Burgum said. “Now, you got a chance.”

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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.