Thousands of people filled the building, but two important people were missing from the crowd.
The Growth and Opportunity Party, put on by the Iowa GOP, hosted more than two thousand voters and ten candidates. However, Dr. Ben Carson and Donald Trump, the two front-runners in the polls, didn’t show up. They both say they had scheduling conflicts.
Costumes in tow, this was a chance for voters to get to know the candidates.
“Just to get an idea, there are so many candidates, it’s so hard to pick right now and I think this is a great opportunity to narrow my choices down a little,” Bob Conroy said.
Others in the crowd had a bit more of an aggressive approach.
“Not that I think they’ll listen, but I’m actually going to encourage some of the candidates to drop out,” Lucas Frobish said.
While Trump and Carson weren’t on the list of attendees, they are still at the top of the polls and the top of many minds.
“I don’t think it says a lot for them, but it’s early in the election. I think they’re at the top for now but I think they will slowly slide off,” Morgan Tangan said.
“I think they’re going to be here even if they’re not because of the impact they’ve had on the race,” Conroy said.
Those who did take the stage: Paul, Cruz, Christie, Jindal, Rubio, Huckabee, Graham, Bush, Santorum, Fiorina, talked policy, taxes, the economy, jobs.
“If we can make America the best place in the world to do business, and we can make it faster cheaper and easier, for our people to have the skills they need, we’re not gonna have an economic recovery,” Marco Rubio said.
They talked about defending our nation.
“I will do whatever it takes and spend whatever it takes to defend out country,” Rand Paul said.
Last week’s debate, and the future of the debates, was another hot topic, both on and off the stage. They criticized the moderators and the RNC.
“If you have never voted in a Republican primary in your life, then you don’t get to moderate a Republican primary debate,” Sen. Ted Cruz said.
“There’s so many things that we were supposed to talk about that night and we never did because we were asked ridiculous questions about each other. And quite frankly, the worst information you are ever going to get about me is from somebody else running for President on the Republican ticket,” Gov. Mike Huckabee said.
All debate discussion on the eve of a meeting between the campaigns. getting together without the RNC to discuss how to change the debates and make them work for them.