Cedar Rapids hosts 19 presidential candidates for democratic dinner

Local News

CEDAR RAPIDS – 19 Democratic presidential candidates descended on Cedar Rapids Sunday for the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner. 

It’s a dinner that happens every year, but this year was more of a spectacle given the race for 2020. The candidates spoke to the nearly 1,500 Iowa Democrats as they tried to set themselves apart from the other 18. 

Outside the Double Tree in Cedar Rapids, it was young, energetic, and rowdy, but it was the candidates’ time to shine inside the hotel. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren saying, “Right now in America, there is real hunger. There are people who are ready for big structural change.” 

Each candidate had five minutes to make their case. Some focused on defeating President Trump. Others, like Kamala Harris, focused on prosecuting him, saying, “I am prepared to make the case for America and to prosecute the case against Donald Trump.”

The theme for the evening was unity in the Democratic Party. Though, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was quick to note there are still major differences. He said, “In my view, we will not defeat Donald Trump unless we bring excitement and energy into this campaign.”

Many candidates discussed some version of universal healthcare, abortion rights, climate change and livable wages. They also shared their stories of Iowans they’ve met on the trail. 

The current leader in the polls, Former Vice President Joe Biden, did not attend Sunday night’s dinner. Entrepreneur and presidential candidate Andrew Yang commented that Biden must not like to travel.

Many staffers Local 5 spoke with said this is just the beginning of the mayhem as we are eight months away from the Iowa caucuses. 

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