Presidential Candidates Flocking to Iowa State Fair to Connect with Caucus Crowd

DES MOINES, Iowa – Nineteen presidential candidates are scheduled to make appearances on the first weekend of the annual Iowa State Fair.

State Historical Society State Curator Leo Landis said candidates have been coming to the state fair for decades.

“Candidates know that if they get our electoral vote they have a good opportunity to win the presidency. So, since the 1930s it’s been a place to campaign,” Landis said.

The first president to make an appearance was Dwight D. Eisenhower back in 1954.

Landis said in 1976 presidential candidate Jimmy Carter was the first to use the Iowa State Fair as a platform to campaign.

1976 was the first election cycle for Iowa to have both the Democratic and Republican caucus.

“Some candidates whether it be Barack Obama in 2007 he just comes and shows that he is a real person and visits with his wife and daughters and they do bumper cars. They play midway games. When candidate Trump was here in 2015, he has the helicopter rides just outside the fairgrounds,” Landis said.

Iowa State University Political Science Professor Steffen Schmidt said, “This gives them huge national attention to try and build credibility and the ever crucial poll numbers.”

You can listen to candidates at the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the following times:

  • Friday August 9th:
    • 9:00 a.m. Democrat Julian Castro
    • 10:30 a.m. Democrat Andrew Yang
    • 12:00 p.m. Democrat John Delaney
    • 1:30 p.m. Democrat Marianne Williamson
    • 2:15 p.m. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard
  • Saturday August 10th:
    • 9:00 a.m. Democrat Jay Inslee
    • 10:30 a.m. Democrat Kamala Harris
    • 11:15 a.m. Democrat Tim Ryan
    • 12:45 p.m. Democrat Amy Klobuchar
    • 1:30 p.m. Democrat Joe Sestak
    • 2:15 p.m. Democrat Kristen Gillibrand
    • 3:00 p.m. Democrat John Hickenlooper
    • 3:45 p.m. Democrat Elizabeth Warren
    • 4:30 p.m. Democrat Cory Booker
  • Sunday August 11th:
    • 11:15 a.m. Republican Bill Weld
    • 1:30 p.m. Democrat Tom Steyer
    • 3:00 p.m. Democrat Michael Bennet
    • 3:45 p.m. Independent seeking Democrat nomination Bernie Sanders
    • 4:30 p.m. Democrat Bill de Blasio
Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.