Drake hosts debate right before Iowa Caucus
Drake University hosted a nationally-televised live Democratic presidential candidate debate on Jan. 14 in Sheslow Auditorium, sponsored by CNN, the Democratic National Committee and the Des Moines Register. The candidates who qualified for the debate were Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.
“I thought it was really exciting, just being someone who’s not from Iowa and seeing how big politics is here and what a draw this campus has,” sophomore Meredith Miklos, a double major in both environmental science and writing said. “It was really exciting to see that we could attract something like such a big national debate and I think it was very informative and watching it in full instead of sporadically like I do kind of at home I think will help me make my decision on who to vote for in the primaries.”
The Democratic National Committee controlled ticketing for the event. Priority for the limited number of tickets made available to members of the Drake community was given to the students. All of those who attended the debate were required to arrive at least 90 minutes before the broadcast. Attendees also needed to remain in Sheslow Auditorium for the entirety of the program.
Those who did not receive a ticket had the option of going to multiple watch parties. Olmsted had watch parties for both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar supporters. Another watch party was held in Cartwright Hall, which was located right across the street from Sheslow Auditorium.
“I thought it was really cool, I think that it was a useful event to help me have a better grasp on who I’m going to caucus for,” Junior Alexus Kreft, double majoring in Law, Politics, and Society said. “It was the first one that I’d watched in full this year… I wished I had gotten to see it in person, but it was cool just to watch internally.”
Kreft also said that having the debate on Drake’s campus was something to be proud of. Kreft knew that some people have issues with a lot of university resources and attention going toward something that doesn’t directly impact the students’ day-to-day life at the university, but that Drake’s part of politics in this country was beneficial.
“I thought it was a cool thing to talk to with my friends,” Kreft said. “To say ’hey, look I can go to this place where even though we’re pretty small, [Drake is] pretty mighty and we have this power on a national stage. So I thought that was pretty good to talk about.”