Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Event Center was packed on Monday, November 27th with nearly 3,000 attendees as the Iowa Democratic Party hosted their annual fall gala.
Troy Price, chairman of Iowa Democratic Party, opened up the evening with welcoming remarks. He congratulated the recent democratic wins across the state, shared what the vision is for the party through the remainder of the year and encouraged attendees to continue fighting for democratic seats in the state House, state Senate and governor’s office.
“We must fight from the school house to the white house,” Price said. “Every election matters.”
Following Price’s statements chants and cheering filled the room, similar to the atmosphere at a high school pep rally, as he introduced the seven candidates running for the governor position on the democratic side of the ballot. Some of the loudest chants of “Fight Back” and “Rune with Nate” were exclaimed from candidate Nate Boulton’s cheering section as he stepped onto the stage.
Boulton, an Iowa native, discussed how Iowa democrats needed to continue fighting back the current state and national administration and to push a new era of politics.
“This vote is more important than who you voted for in the caucuses,” Boulton said to the chanting crowd. “We are Iowans in a fight that will define Iowa for the next generation.”
After the candidates spoke Alec Baldwin, the keynote speaker for the evening, presented. Baldwin, who’s known for his impersonation of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, combined his love for comedy and activism throughout his speech.
He made jokes toward the current administration saying, “I want you to take the pledge right now and come together…and send Trump to a retirement home in Moscow where he belongs.”
Near the conclusion of his speech, Baldwin, who’s been a long time democratic activist, put the jokes aside and encouraged the crowd to join together for the 2018 election, especially with seven candidates listed under the democratic party.
“And when one of them, maybe not the one you want, wins the primary, I want you to take the pledge right now and promise to come together and back that candidate on behalf of the Democratic Party,” he said.
Young Activists Present at Gala
Amongst the 3,000-person crowd was a large number of young people intensely listening to the words of Price, the candidates and Baldwin. One of the biggest groups of millennials was in Boulton’s fan section, as they were seen sporting their black and white t-shirts with “Boulton-Mania” printed on the front.
When asked about the large number of millennials present at the gala, Jordan Sabine, Boulton’s Press Secretary, stated their entire campaign staff is in fact made up of individuals who all fall into the millennial age group.
“It was never a goal of ours to hire millennials,” Sabine described. “In campaigns you often times hire who you know…so it’s been nice to be able to work with your friends.”
Sabine explained how many people may find issues with having a young staff because they won’t be able to relate and understand older voters. However, Sabine thinks having a younger staff plays to the campaigns advantage because the young adults have a high energy that will outweigh any struggle.
“Having a younger staff comes with the advantage of greater energy levels and more time to devote to the campaign,” Sabine said. “In a time when campaigns could benefit from activating younger Americans to be involved in the politics process, having a younger staff who understands younger voters, also gives us an advantage in reaching out to our fellow millennials.”
Cecilia Bernard, a student attending the gala, also observed the large number of millennials present. She attended the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in 2015 as a guest and this year was able to attend the event as an intern for the Iowa Democratic Party.
“I think there were similar amount of young people at the dinner in 2015 as there were this fall,” Bernard said. “However, due to the format of the gala being a fundraising event, it’s still really awesome to see so many young people involved with campaigns and wanting to help the party in so many ways.”
Bernard felt that while the keynote speech was aimed for the entire crowd, Baldwin’s message resonated with her and the large number of young adults in the room the most.
“Baldwin said we [as young adults] have an important role to play in America,” Bernard described. “I believe all the millennials in the room have been, are, and will work towards Baldwin’s call to action.”
Baldwin concluded the evening with a standing ovation as he asked the party for one last request, “let’s make America America again.”