Good Morning, Iowa!

Wow! Yesterday was quite the action packed day here in Iowa. The excitement due to the 2016 Presidential race was palpable from the moment I walked into the hotel lobby in the morning, to hearing Marco Rubio give his Iowa victory speech late last night.

My first campaign assignment with Wake the Vote was to work on the Hillary Clinton campaign for the day in Iowa. #HillzYes! As a moderate Republican, my friends were wondering how I would be able to do this task. I was so excited to be a part of the political process that it didn’t really phase me to be working on Hillary’s campaign, even though I don’t plan on voting for her in November. Also, it was amusing knowing that a few of my liberal friends were working for Donald Trump for the day.

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Here is a picture of Ryan, Cameron, and me at the Clinton office getting ready to canvas.

Ryan and I were given a map of the houses that we needed to knock on and give information to. We were both impressed by the amount of information the campaign had on each voter we were targeting. Ryan and I are both registered Republicans, but we stuck to the script, and convinced a handful of voters to go out and caucus that night for Hillary. (Sorry Bernie!) It was awesome to be able to talk to real voters about the issues that they cared about in this election.

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That afternoon my group reported to the Clinton campaign headquarters. We were told that we had a three-hour training session for phone-banking, but were not really sure what that would entail. While we were sitting in our training session, we quickly realized that we were in the ground zero strategy room for the Clinton campaign. Huma Abedin was working right next to where we were sitting. The “boiler room” as the campaign called it, with all of the top campaign officials was in the room next to us after all.

After the training session, we took a forty-five minute break and then returned to fulfill our duties and help out as much as we could. When we got back, we were informed that we had a new job. The four of us were going to input the preliminary results that were called-in from precinct leaders around the state. I was excited that I was going to get a feel for the results before the official numbers came out.

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We were curious why we were given this much responsibility since we had never worked on the Clinton campaign before. We were one tweet away from sending out a bad narrative for the Clinton campaign that night. I guess the staff came to this conclusion as well because they asked us to leave around 6:30 PM.

We then had the opportunity to watch the caucus in person!

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In this picture, the Clinton supporters are on the left, O’Malley supporters in the middle, and Sanders supporters on the right.

At this location, 202 people caucused for Clinton, which gave her 5 delegates. Bernie received 4 delegates for the 198 people who caucused for him.

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When I returned to the Marriott, I met Senator Cory Gardner as I walked into the hotel. He was on his way to the Rubio event.

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I then went to the Marco Rubio victory party that was going on upstairs. Rubio gave an electrifying speech with his family by his side. Even though he finished in third place, he was the clear winner of the night. He made a clear case for the two paths that this country could take in the upcoming election and laid out his plan for the “New American Century”.

After the speech, the Wake the Vote cohort was glued to the TVs to see if Sanders could upset Clinton. Everyone in the cohort seemed to #FeeltheBern.

Overall, I am so glad that I had to opportunity to spend the day in Des Moines, Iowa for the 2016 Presidential Caucuses. It was neat to be around campaigns on different sides of the aisle.

-Carl McPhail

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