Des Moines, Iowa — Nine candidates running for president, which included one candidate who literally ran, celebrated the largest Capital City Pride Fest ever. Nick Kringle, of Des Moines, figured it gave him a good place to start.
“There’s just so many of them this year,” Kringle said of the 23-person Democratic presidential field, “I don’t know where to start. This is the best place, right?”
Here’s some of what candidates said as they mingled with hundreds of people gathered near the State Capitol:
Beto O’Rourke, former U.S. Representative from Texas, who started his day running the Pride Fest 5k Fun Run, said, “Congratulations on ten years on marriage equality!”
Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont, said, “What America means to us is that we will eliminate all forms of discrimination.”
John Delaney, former U.S. Representative from Maryland, said “It’s a great day and it’s a great day to celebrate!”
Marianne Williamson, best-selling author from California who has temporarily moved to Des Moines, told Channel 13 about the country’s challenge, “Where we’re not performing as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Jay Inslee, governor of Washington, “It is inconceivable to me that we have an alleged commander-in-chief who still wants to deprive our United States’ military of talented people (banning transgendered people).”
Tim Ryan, U.S. Representative from Ohio, “We have so many challenges and it’s the LGBTQ community that has shown the rest of us clearly that when you engage in democracy, when you engage in the political process, you can make the change you want.”
Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator from New York, “We can celebrate our pride every single day.”
Pete Buttiegieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told CNN, “The pace of change has been extraordinary. I think those of us within the LGBTQ community are perhaps among the most amazed.”
Cory Booker, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, tweeted, “A perfect day in Des Moines to celebrate love and equality.”
The nine candidates dwarfed the number who showed up at the event four years earlier. Only former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley attended the event.