The last time Dallas County Democrats caucused, the votes were focused on two candidates in a photo finish. This year, at least in Waukee’s 2 and 4 precincts on Feb. 3 at Shuler Elementary, that gap stayed the same among a larger number of candidates.
With 290 voters, Precinct 2 cast five delegates with two going to Pete Buttigieg and Former Vice President Joe Biden. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren each received one.
Precinct 4 sang a slightly different tune with 234 voters, giving two delegates to Buttigieg as well, but split the other votes to Warren, Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Sanders was ousted after falling shy of viability, surprising precinct captain Marcia Wanamaker, who caucused for Buttigieg.
“I know he’s getting a lot of momentum but that was the most pleasant surprise for me,” Wanamaker said. “People when they realized they weren’t going to be viable, they realized [and moved over] quickly.”
Sanders’ low turnout in Precinct 4 gave the opportunity to supporters like Dylan Belbered to offer support to other candidates. His second time caucusing, Belbered, who also pulled for Sanders in 2016, said there wasn’t a doubt he would caucus for Sanders this year.
“He’s been standing for the issues for his whole life pretty much. Things like climate change and Medicare for All to really help us,” Belbered said.
Eric Anders was also caucused for Sanders a second time in Precinct 4.
“Last time around wasn’t really much of a question for me. That was pretty much Bernie all the way. This time, it’s actually a close decision between Bernie and Yang,” Anders said, with neither of his top-two choices making the cut in his precinct.
Not buying into Sanders were husband and wife Bob and Ann Sloan, who came into support two low-polling candidates, their fifth time caucusing. Bob pulled for Tom Steyer while Ann originally caucused for Sen. Michael Bennet. Though they knew they would have to realign, they were adamant in their support, unwilling to sit in the empty “undecided” section.
Ann said she couldn’t stand behind Sanders’ more populist ideas. Once Bennet was immediately found unviable, she moved her support to Biden’s camp.
Warren initially had a low turnout when the doors first opened up but gathered enough of a crowd to stay involved, and grabbed a good number of voters originally sided with Sanders in Precinct 4.
Precinct 2 had similar love for Warren, including precinct captain Matt Chapman, who had previously helped bring Kamala Harris to Waukee to discuss the housing crisis. He said he’s always liked what Warren has brought to the table, and is particularly happy about her plans for housing.
Klobuchar’s staying power in Precinct 4 came as a welcomed surprise to her supporters, including Braden Sankot, who can vote for the first time. He said after Klobuchar, he’d support Yang next but was overall most excited that he could participate this election cycle.
Keep watching for more caucus results at www.adelnews.com and in the Feb. 6 Dallas County News.