College-aged caucus-goers choosing from large candidate field as they prepare for 2020

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - At a town hall Monday in Iowa City, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren made her case to be the first presidential candidate that many of the people in attendance will ever vote for.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a campaign town hall at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (Mary Green/KCRG)

The Pew Research Center reports one in 10 eligible voters in the 2020 election are Americans between the ages of 18 and 23, and for many of them, the 2020 election is the first one for which they’re eligible to cast their votes.

“I’m really excited,” Emmeline Kraus, a freshman at the University of Iowa, said. “I’ve been involved in the past with political movements but have never been able to participate, so I’m really looking forward to caucusing.”

Warren already has the support of Kraus, who’s from Iowa City and attended the town hall at the Iowa Memorial Union on the school's campus. She said the senator’s environmental policies appealed to her most.

“Elizabeth Warren is a supporter of the Green New Deal, so that really drew me into her campaign,” Kraus said.

Kraus and other first-time voters told KCRG-TV9 that climate change is the top issue they’re concerned about when choosing a candidate.

“Our generation is basically left to fix it, and the best way to fix it is by voting for someone who actually has a plan,” Kate Schaeffer, a freshman, said.

Schaeffer, who’s from Ankeny, and fellow freshman Bailey Brewer, of Runnells, said they were both excited and nervous to choose from so many candidates. Right now, Democratic caucus-goers are making their choice from more than a dozen people.

Schaeffer and Brewer just settled on a candidate after the town hall, saying Warren persuaded them.

“We decided to come today, and it was really eye-opening, so now I know for sure,” Schaeffer said, adding that she was torn between Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“I was in between her and Pete, and today, coming here, just trying to narrow it down even further, which one, I’m pretty set on Warren,” Brewer said.

Iowa sophomore Adrian Enzastiga wishes he knew who to pick.

“I’m not sure who I’m caucusing for, so it’s kind of stressful,” Enzastiga said.

Enzastiga, who is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, is also choosing between Warren and Buttigieg at this point and said he still needs to do more research before making a selection, especially when it comes to key issues like Medicare for all.

“I’ve heard from some people that it’s just not feasible, like with that much money, it won’t work, and other people are like, no, we’ll be fine, we’ll just tax the rich, so I’m just not sure who’s right,” Enzastiga said.

Whether that’s Warren or someone else, he’s still figuring it out.

“I kind of wish somebody could just choose for me,” Enzastiga said.