OTTUMWA, Iowa — It didn’t take long for caucus-goers in Ottumwa to choose a candidate on Monday afternoon at the state’s first satellite caucus location.
The satellite caucus kicked off at noon at the UFCW Local 230 union hall. It was open to the public, but a pre-registration was required in order to participate, meaning some were turned away at the door.
“I felt very badly about that. Hopefully, going forward we will have a more sophisticated process set up where we can do the same thing we do in the regular precinct caucuses and register people as walk ins,” said Frank Flanders, the satellite chairperson at UFCW Local 230.
Thirty-one voters pre-registered, and 15 showed up to caucus. Fourteen of them caucused for Senator Bernie Sanders in the first alignment. One person caucused for Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren’s supporter, who was also an organizer for the campaign, did not want to realign to Sanders.
Sanders was awarded four delegates toward Ottumwa’s congressional district.
The group largely consisted of second shift workers from the local JBS Pork Plant, who would not have been able to caucus otherwise.
“There’s also all kinds of retail workers, service workers, a number of other employers have people on staff at seven o’clock. And so we wanted to make sure that they had somewhere they can go to participate in the caucus,” saidZach Simonson, chairperson for Wapello County Democrats.
According to Flanders, the group was a majority of first time caucus-goers.