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

JoCo Republican caucusgoers back Haley, wins by one vote

At Southeast Junior High precinct six, a number of voters voiced their opinions on the two candidates and discussed the issues they value most.
Carly Schrum/The Daily Iowan
Caucus-goer Laura Swart fills out her voter registration during the Iowa caucuses at the Iowa Memorial Union on Monday, Jan. 15th, 2024. (Carly Schrum/The Daily Iowan)

While Iowa City resident Jeff Naftzger caucused for Nikki Haley at Southeast Junior High on Monday, former President Donald Trump remained at the forefront of his mind ahead of caucus results. 

“Trump is by far the best president we have had in my lifetime,” Naftzger, 57, said. “I am voting for Nikki Haley, but I feel like Trump will win the nomination.”

Naftzger, like other voters at precinct six, braved the frigid temperatures to caucus tonight, believing that those who can vote should do so, no matter what. Haley won Johnson County by one vote on Monday, according to unofficial results.

With roughly 50 individuals filling the small cafeteria at Southeast Junior High, located at 2501 Bradford Drive, the room was teeming with conversation, as groups of Republicans huddled together discussing political views, the weather, and other points of interest.

Joseph Dobrien, permanent chairman and secretary at the precinct, called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m., and shortly after a unanimous motion was passed allowing late arriving caucusgoers to register and vote.

Speaking in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Shevaun Harris advocated for DeSantis and his policies, presenting a series of issues that DeSantis has resolved from Big Pharma to reducing debt in Florida. 

“As a mom of two, I worry endlessly about the country that’s working for my two kids and my grandkids and I know that DeSantis is the right leader to get this country back on track,” Harris said. 

Samuel Beatty, a self-appointed speaker for Trump at the precinct, said before the 2016 presidential elections, he had never even considered voting for the former president. After seeing his four years in office, Beatty said he is the best president the U.S. has ever had.

“He [Trump] doesn’t answer to anyone nor does he bend the knee to big corporations,” Beatty said. 

Paul Hardin-Specht, 21, a University of Iowa student and first-time caucusgoer, caucused for Trump and expressed the importance of securing the borders and fixing the economy.

“Trump is the most transparent candidate out of all these guys. I think his legal troubles are an attempt to derail him and in a lot of ways it’s bogus,” Hardin-Specht said.

Diane Cruz-Truhlar, 71, a poll worker and volunteer for the Republican Party, caucused for the first time on Monday, firmly in support of Trump.

“I like his honesty and directness and his views on immigration,” Cruz-Truhlar said.

Richard Lutz, 85, a long-time caucusgoer, voted for Nikki Haley and talked about the importance of her stance on pro-life, immigration, and the national debt. 

“I am more of a pro-choice person which is kind of unusual for a Republican, but Haley is a lot softer on the issue. Immigration and the national debt have always bothered me,” Lutz said.

Despite avid support for the former President, Haley narrowly grasped the precinct win with 17 votes, followed closely by Trump with 14 votes, and 10 votes for DeSantis.

Following the tally of the votes, a series of resolutions were put forth by three caucusgoers in attendance.

One caucusgoer, a former UI student who preferred to stay anonymous, strongly voiced his desire to have a resolution passed that completely eliminated interest on student loans. 

“If we do not make this significant change, the younger people are never going to be on our side. The schools take advantage of students and that needs to end,” he said. 

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About the Contributor
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.