The Democratic Party is seeking to narrow its field and decide on a final candidate, and University of Minnesota students hit the polls in full force Tuesday morning.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are the likely top contenders to move forward into the general election, but 15 names are on the primary ballot. On the other side, President Donald Trump is the only candidate put forth by the GOP. Whichever Democrat wins during the primary will be pushed forward to face Trump at the general election in November.
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar backed out of the race this week and endorsed Biden as the Democratic candidate.
Andy Kovalesky, a University junior, cast her ballot between classes at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Marcy-Holmes. She voted Klobuchar, despite the Senator backing out of the race, because she said “it's important to vote for who I would have wanted to win anyway, because that's how these get counted.”
She wants to see Klobuchar on the ballot again in the future and hopes her vote can help support that.
“I think that it's important for her to know that she has support here, even if she isn't continuing this year.”
University sophomore Julia Beczkalo picked Sanders at the Marcy-Holmes church, saying he’s capable of building and spreading excitement and challenging the status quo.
“The country's in a super critical moment, and I think that these 2020 elections are really going to define how America decides to move forward,” Beczkalo said.
Some have regarded Sanders and Warren as the more progressive candidates, with Biden fitting a more centrist and pragmatic platform that could draw a wider reach of voters — including those who preferred Klobuchar and Buttigieg.
“I believe in [Sanders’] visions, his ideas. I think he’s the most progressive candidate in the race,” said University sophomore Destiny Washington.
Makenzie Olson, a first-year student at Minneapolis College in Downtown Minneapolis, voted at Brian Coyle Center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. She was too young to vote for Sanders in 2016, so she was excited for her first chance to participate in the process.
“I was kind of hesitant to vote for Bernie,” Olson said. “I wanted someone that was younger. But after yesterday, there’s not anyone that’s younger.”
Brian Lynch, a recent University graduate, cast a ballot for Biden at Van Cleve Park in Southeast Como.
“I’m not excited to vote for him,” Lynch said, but he believes a recession is on the horizon and it may not be the right time for a progressive candidate like Sanders.
Despite his lack of excitement about Biden, Lynch said this is an important general election for unseating Trump: “We all need to chip in and make sure our political thoughts are counted.”
Hana Ikramuddin and Brooke Sheehy contributed to this report.