Local Political Volunteers, Leaders Assess Iowa Caucus Results
Local supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders say they are anything but discouraged that Sanders was narrowly defeated in the Iowa Caucuses Tuesday night by Hillary Clinton.
"We were hoping to just come within five points. To be a dead tie, or practically a tie, is a huge accomplishment,” said Sanders delegate Kevin Sweeney.
There are several hundred Sanders volunteers and supporters in the Rochester area who will be consolidating their efforts in the next few weeks. Sweeney believes his candidate’s momentum will continue because he is appealing to a wide voter demographic.
"We're getting people of all ages, all races and genders. It's a very diverse group of people who are coming out of the woodwork,” he said. “We've had Republicans coming to meetings early in the process asking about changing their voter registration; people who are married to Americans but maintaining their foreign citizenship wanting to change that so they could vote for Sanders."
Local Hillary Clinton volunteer Josh Keaton was not surprised that Sanders performed as well as he did in Iowa.
"A lot of anti-establishment candidates have often had a lot of success there. Certainly, that was how then-Senator Obama gained his first electoral prominence on the national stage. It's not surprising to see folks who are outside the mainstream having success in Iowa."
Keaton believes, however, that Clinton can rely on her progressive record and experience in domestic and foreign affairs to ultimately win the Democratic nomination.
"There are a range of issues she is very strong on, whether it's college affordability, incoming inequality, and international affairs. These are all things she can bring to the table and I think that's what will deliver her the nomination."
Jamie Romeo, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee, sees the race for her party's presidential nomination as still very much up for grabs between Clinton and Sanders.
“Because it was so close, I think it still is a bit wide open, because we will see how it goes in New Hampshire and the upcoming states. One thing is definitely for sure; both candidates have run very positive campaigns that are inspiring a lot of passion, and we'll have to see how those continue to trend."
Monroe County Republican Party chair Bill Reilich sees the GOP results in Iowa as an indication that front runners Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are all still in the game.
"Although their views are slightly different, they're not dramatically different as much as if you were to have one of them run against Bernie Sanders or even Hillary Clinton," he said.
Reilich is not publicly endorsing a candidate yet because he wants to invite all of the Republican contenders to Monroe County ahead of the New York primary, and he thinks they will make an appearance.
"There are three delegates to be awarded here, so the fact is, we believe they will traverse the state."
Reilich said even if Donald Trump does not go on to win his party's nomination, he will have contributed to the race by engaging previously disenfranchised voters.
The GOP Party chairman expects local Republican volunteers to organize efforts for their favorite candidates in the coming weeks.