Cold beer, good food and presidential politics brought Delaware County Democrats together at Franklin Street Brewing Company June 17 for the group’s summer social.
Eight Democratic candidates for president sent representatives to state their candidate’s case as to why they are the best chance for Democrats to take back the White House in 2020.
John Bessler, husband of candidate Amy Klobuchar, was in attendance, along with field representatives for candidates John Delaney, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Eric Swalwell, Beto O’Rourke and Steve Bullock.
Robin Stone, Chair of the Delaware County Democrats, said the summer event gives residents a chance to learn about the candidates.
“We have trouble in Delaware County and in rural Iowa attracting candidates. We need folks in Delaware County to be able to get to know the candidates and to ask questions. We have so many candidates running that it is difficult to sort them out. That’s why we are doing this.”
Stone said issues important to Iowans include health care, the environment and education. “I like to say our issues are the same as issues in other areas of the country, but ours look just a little different.”
With the current field of over 20 candidates, Stone believes most will be out of the race by the time of the Iowa caucuses in early 2020. “My guess is we will end up with five or six candidates by the time we get to the caucus. ”
Stone believes Democrats in Iowa are becoming more active. “Our Delaware County Democrats are really growing. We see a lot of new faces. I think there’s a sense of activism the party hasn’t seen for a while.”
She believes that activism is a result of the election of President Trump. “The day after the election we saw a lot of women hitting the streets. I’m seeing a lot of women involved right now. Women are fired up. I think you will see women drive this election very much.”
For county vice chair Buzz Pounds, he believes candidates that ignore rural Iowa do so at their own peril. “The message candidates need to hear is that rural counties matter. You will ask us to do something for you. If we don’t know who you are, that’s difficult. As long as the candidates or their surrogates are here and we see them, we know who to talk to. That matters to Iowans.”
Manchester resident David Marolf said he heard common themes from everyone who spoke. “Education, health care and the environment were the big issues. I believe everyone I heard tonight have similar goals.”
Marolf continued, “I usually support the Democrats here in Delaware County. I wanted to come and see the candidates tonight.”
He said he hasn’t chosen a candidate yet. “It’s way too early and there are so many of them. But I think there are a lot of good ones.”
Stone hopes the party can attract voters dissatisfied with President Trump. “I think we are seeing more independents interested as well as Republicans who haven’t seen the president’s policies materialize. We’re hoping to get them over as voters.”