'I’ve never missed an election': Iowans reflect on 2020 race as candidates flock to the state fair

Marquise Francis
National Reporter & Producer


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowans know that their vote matters. “I’ve never missed an election I’ve been registered for in my life,” said John Outclet, from Des Moines. “I don’t care if it’s the school board, dog catcher, anything. I’ve never missed an election.”

As the first state to have a caucus, the results in Iowa play a key role in the presidential primaries. And, accordingly, its state fair is the premier event for the roughly two dozen Democratic candidates hoping to get their party’s nod to take on President Trump.

The fair is one of the first opportunities for candidates and Iowans to interact with one another. Yahoo News spoke to some of those voters over the weekend as a series of White House hopefuls made their pitches.

“I think we need a candidate who’s going to speak to a large group of Americans,” said Jonathan Gretter of Waterloo. “They need to have a positive vision to connect with and we need a candidate who’s going to do that.”

Fair attendees ranged from toddlers to senior citizens, all munching on funnel cakes with powdered sugar — and fried food of all kinds. Festival rides, rock bands and livestock displays attracted attendees from near and far. But some of the largest crowds on Saturday were gathered around the stage to hear Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., make their case. (On average, 100,000 people attend each day of the 11-day fair, according to the Iowa State Fair website.)

A recent University of Iowa graduate, Hira Mustafa of West Des Moines, told Yahoo News that she was excited to see the candidates in person.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure as many people are engaged as much as possible so we get the greatest picture of who we feel represents us.”

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