Early Satellite Caucus Results: What We Learned In Iowa And Beyond

Photo via Annie Brenizer

By Team Starting Line

February 3, 2020

A few hours remain before results roll in from tonight’s precinct caucuses in Iowa, but satellite caucus locations held earlier today in Iowa, around America and abroad revealed interesting early clues to support and organization.

The Iowa Democratic Party exerted extra effort this year to make the caucuses more accessible, including Spanish language precincts, ADA accommodations and satellite caucuses. Those satellite caucuses were intended to help shift workers, residents at nursing homes, students, Iowans living abroad or in vacation homes and more to participate if they couldn’t make it to their local precinct in the evening.

The official results from these satellite sites will be released from the state party alongside precincts later tonight. But they were public events, so reporters, including several from Starting Line, could attend and observe what happened.

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According to the IDP, the number of delegate equivalents from each satellite site is based on the total number of attendees across many satellites. The results will be reported as an additional county, bringing the total number of reported counties on caucus night to 104, up from the traditional 99. In-state satellite caucuses will be reported by congressional district, with out-of-state and international sites reported by statewide turnout.

But we do know how many individuals showed up for each that were public.

Bernie Sanders won the first contest in the state with the noon satellite caucus at a union hall in Ottumwa. He had support from 14 of the 15 people gathered there, mostly plant workers that included refugees. The lone Elizabeth Warren supporter decided not to realign and left.

At the Cedar Rapids Public Library, Sanders had the most in the room again, with support from nine caucus-goers. Five candidates had support after the first alignment. Andrew Yang, who only had one supporter, wasn’t viable, and moved to Warren’s group.

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That Cedar Rapids’ site ended with nine Sanders members, while Warren had six people in her group, Pete Buttigieg had five and Joe Biden had four.

“It was pretty good. I had hoped to see more, but it was good,” said Jill Martinez, a Warren supporter.

She was happy with the satellite caucus because it gave her a chance to participate.

“I knew I wouldn’t be able to vote tonight because I have to work,” Martinez said. “I was very anxious between when they announced the virtual caucus wouldn’t happen and the announcement of the satellites.”

Daniel Cosman was there with with his son, Cory. Both supported Sanders.

“We didn’t want to wait forever tonight. And we wanted to have our voices heard,” Daniel Cosman said. “Because last time we didn’t think they were.”

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Cory Cosman thought the satellite caucus was a great idea because he wouldn’t have been able to caucus otherwise.

As for Sanders winning, he said, “I’m very happy with the outcome. I really believe in his message and I believe in his ability to save the country.”

In Lee County, at the Labor Temple in Keokuk in far Southeast Iowa, Sanders won the support of five caucus-goers compared to Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s two and Buttigieg’s two. All remained viable.

At the LULAC Club Fort Madison, also in Lee County, Sanders had the backing of six caucus-goers compared to Biden’s one, according to the Fort Madison Daily Democrat, making Biden nonviable.


Meanwhile, several satellite locations were held for Iowa snowbirds in Florida and Arizona. At one location in Port Charlotte, Florida, which was broadcast live by CNN, Amy Klobuchar carried the room. Here are those numbers:

First Alignment:

Klobuchar: 48
Buttigieg: 38
Biden: 32
Warren: 12
Steyer: 2
Sanders: 1
Yang: 1

Second Alignment:

Klobuchar: 56
Buttigieg: 44
Biden: 43

Eighty-seven satellite caucus locations are set up today, including 60 in Iowa, 24 out-of-state and three international.

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Foreign Satellite Caucuses

The day got started in the Republic of Georgia, where a small handful of Iowans gathered in an Iowan’s house in Tblisi. Though the event was listed as open and Starting Line had a correspondent ready to attend, we were not allowed by the homeowner to go.

Some of the first results of the 2020 Democratic primary were instead broken by way of Paris, France, and Glasgow, Scotland.

The first results came in from the satellite caucus in Glasgow, where Sanders took the most votes.

Colyn Burbank had agreed to host at his apartment in Glasgow. The graduate student said the Iowa expats traveled from all over the United Kingdom to participate.

In the first alignment, Sanders had nine votes, Warren had four, Buttigieg had three, Yang had two and Klobuchar had one.

Yang and Klobuchar were not viable, and after the second alignment in Glasgow, Warren gained two votes and one of the Yang supporters chose not to realign. The final alignment ended with Sanders having nine votes, Warren with six and Buttigieg with three.

Burbank said he only knew five of the people caucusing at the beginning of the night, but now is “friends with everyone.”

“It was very spirited and nice and friendly and I couldn’t have asked for more,” he said.

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In Paris, Warren received the most support.

Iowan Emily Hagedorn hosted a caucus a few blocks from Jardin du Palais Royal, where USA Today reported that the Paris mayor’s office “graciously” let her use a room. Twenty-six Iowans were registered to participate but only 17 ultimately caucused.

First round results came in with Warren having seven supporters, Sanders with five, three people went to Klobuchar and two went to Buttigieg.

Warren, Sanders and Klobuchar were the only viable candidates going into realignment, and Warren ended up with eight votes, Sanders with six and Klobuchar with three.

Iowans at the Paris location also came from Germany and Amsterdam because they “wanted to vote.” A little more than half the group were expats living in France and the other half were students, originally from Iowa, studying abroad.


By Paige Godden, Nikoel Hytrek, Isabella Murray and Elizabeth Meyer, with international reporting from Bridget Robertson in Glasgow, Scotland, and Annie Brenizer in Paris, France.

Posted 2/3/2020



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