Kicking off the election season, OVS alum Connor Floyd took part last week in the Iowa Caucuses, lending his voice and his vote to the nation’s first opportunity to shape the presidential field for the 2016 race.
Connor, a 2015 OVS graduate and freshman this year at Clarke University in Dubuque, IA, attended one of the Republican caucuses on Feb. 1, hearing from several representatives of the candidates in the 12-person field.
Connor could have spoken up for his preferred presidential choice, but he decided to sit back and watch the proceedings unfold as more than 4,000 people jammed into a school gymnasium to discuss the issues and candidates of their choice.
“It was all really exciting,” Connor told Laurel Colborn’s government students the next day via Skype. “It was really cool to see people stand up for who they voted for. It was even cooler to see the community coming together to vote.”
While the state has just 3 million of the country’s approximately 320 million residents, and contributes only about 1% of the delegates who will ultimately choose the presidential nominees, the Iowa caucuses have emerged as an important bellwether for presidential politics.
Because it is the first contest of the election season, it draws a great deal of media attention, and as a result can break campaigns that perform poorly. And since 1972, the state’s voters have successfully predicted the eventual party nominees about half the time.
Connor’s father, Assistant Upper Campus Headmaster Craig Floyd, said it has been satisfying to look on from afar and watch his eldest son build a variety of new interests in his life.
“Back in the summer, even before he went to Iowa, he was talking about how excited he was to take part in this process,” Mr. Floyd said. “It’s been great to see the maturation process, and to see him develop a greater understanding of what’s going on in the country.”
While Connor is attending Clarke University on a baseball scholarship, he told the government students that as soon as he committed to the university he became excited about the opportunity to take part in the caucuses.
“It’s part of being in Iowa, and part of the college experience,” Connor said. “People really get into politics in college, and inside the college community there are so many different views going on.”
Connor heard political supporters debate just about every topic he could think of. But one topic came up more than the others — abortion. People were strongly against it, Connor said, falling perfectly in line with Iowa’s conservative population.
“Dubuque is very conservative, very religious,” he said. “You can drive down the freeway and see billboards that are anti-abortion and even anti-gay marriage.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the Iowa Republican caucus, while Connor’s preferred candidate – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – finished third to last. But that didn’t shake Connor’s confidence in Christie.
“So far in his political career, he has spoken the truth and he doesn’t beat around the bush,” Connor said. “When he says something he means it.”
Connor said he got interested in politics during his senior year in Mrs. Colborn’s government class. He told the students during their Skype that he and OVS alum Matthew Gustafson even talked last year about one day being senators together.
“It’s definitely still a possible idea — I do plan to go to law school,” Connor said.
For her part, Mrs. Colborn, a self-proclaimed political-geek, said she was thrilled that Connor had a front row to the political process, and that he was willing to share his experiences with her students.
“I thought it would be a great experience for my current seniors to talk to someone who they know who is getting to experience the caucus first hand, and be excited about it,” Mrs. Colborn said. “Not only am I trilled that Connor is getting to be a part of a political system so different from California, but that, because of technology, I’m getting to live vicariously through him.”Share