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Iowa Republicans cast their ballots

Scenes from Caucus Day in Iowa

Editor’s note: Watch here for updates from Talia Zafari, a student from Los Angeles, California, who is in Iowa to write about the political scene and the Iowa Caucuses. Iowa Republicans will make their choice Monday between many presidential candidates, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

Will the last one to leave turn out the lights? The caucus is over. (Talia Zafari/YJI)
Closing up shop

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 9:50 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 Just like that, caucusing comes to a close. It was announced that Trump officially won the Iowa Republican caucus, while the race for second place, between DeSantis and Haley, continues to be tight.

Counting votes
The third and final precinct counts their votes. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 9:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – Ballot counting is wrapping up. Ultimately, the three precincts at this caucus all decided on Haley.

The caucus comes to a close
Shortly after 9 p.m., voters selecting delegates as the caucus comes to a close. (Talia Zafari/YJI)
Voting begins
Voters drop handwritten ballots into a brown paper bag at the Dallas County Republican caucus in Des Moines, Iowa. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – Caucus goers separate into precincts to begin the voting process.

People are writing the name of their preferred candidate on pieces of paper and dropping them into a brown paper bag.

Eric Trump addresses the a Dallas County Republican caucus in Des Moines. (Talia Zafari/YJI)
Eric Trump, local Republicans address caucus

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 8:50 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – Eric Trump speaks to the caucus on behalf of Donald Trump.

“My father is the greatest man I know,” the younger Trump said.

A card inviting Republicans to get involved after the caucus. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – Most caucus goers seem to be supporting Haley or Trump.

But Sue Karlson, a DeSantis supporter, seems to be an outlier.

“Trump brings too much chaos, and Haley’s foreign policy doesn’t make sense,” Karlson said.

Karlson said, though, that she would vote for whoever the Republican nominee is in the general election.

“We can’t have another four years of these people,” said Karlson.

Dallas County Republican Party Chair Kelley Koch addresses the caucus. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

Kelley Koch, chair of the Dallas County Republicans, addressed the audience.

“Joe Biden is the worst president in my lifetime. As a strong Republican activist, I am fearful for my country’s future,” said Koch.

Campaign materials up for grabs. (Talia Zafari/YJI)
The Caucuses get underway

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – At The Rec Plex, a large recreation center in Dallas County, about 1,500 Iowans are expected to attend a caucus here tonight.

Trump a no-show, and crowd quickly disperses
Crowd clearing out of Jethro’s BBQ in Ankeny, Iowa, after organizers announced that the candidate would not be coming. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

Ankeny, Iowa, U.S.A. 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – Organizers announced that Trump would not be coming. The crowd cleared out quickly.

Trump supporter claims God told him to vote for Trump
Trump supporter David Lage at a rally in Ankeny, Iowa, waiting for the candidate. (Talia Zafari/YJI)
Trump supporter David Lage shows his hat, signed by the former president. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

Ankeny, Iowa, U.S.A. 2:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – Arriving at the Trump rally, organizers announced a three-hour delay, setting the arrival time to 4:30 pm.

Despite this, Trump’s supporters, holding pints of beer and MAGA signs, still exuded happiness.

One enthusiast, David Lage, claimed divine intervention, asserting after “being struck by lighting, God spoke to home and told him to vote for Trump.”

Overall, Trump supporters appear undisturbed by the delays, reveling in the open bar and lively country music.

Trump supporters don’t mind waiting

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – After people waited from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Trump never showed, so we’re heading to his rally now, hoping to speak to some more of his supporters. It’s unclear whether he will be there or just other speakers.

Unsurprisingly, his supporters remained unfazed “committed to supporting him.”

Stakeout at a Des Moines hotel, hoping to spot Trump

Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A., 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15 – On this historic and frigid caucus day in Iowa, tensions rise in the DeSantis vs. Haley rivalry for the second spot behind Trump.

Meanwhile, at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, a dedicated crowd eagerly awaits Trump’s arrival, braving the cold in hopes of catching a glimpse of his bright orange hair as he makes his way to his events of the day.

A crowd waits for Trump on Monday afternoon at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. (Talia Zafari/YJI)

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