‘Go Pizza Ranch!’

Posted: September 21, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog
Senator Lindsey Graham visits a Pizza Ranch in Waukee, Iowa.

Sen. Lindsey Graham visits a Pizza Ranch in Waukee, Iowa.

On a Friday night in Iowa, the only thing better than a high school football game is a Republican presidential candidate at a Pizza Ranch. The Dallas County Republicans hosted a speech by Sen. Lindsey Graham in Waukee. This event took place at a Pizza Ranch restaurant because there is nothing quite like the atmosphere there. This is definitely something every Iowan understands.

Considering the event was held at a Pizza Ranch, the mood was unlike anything I have witnessed before. There was a very diverse crowd — kids as young as 3 years old and people as old as 75. People also varied in their attire. For example, there was a man with 5-inch inseam shorts as well as people in full suits. The range of people who attend these events is truly a unique part of the Iowa Caucus experience.

From the very beginning, Graham was different than any candidate I have seen. Instead of walking straight to the front of the room he walked from table to table, shaking hands and giving fist-bumps. I have had the opportunity to shake the hands of many candidates in the past, but I have never fist-bumped any of them. From this, I could immediately tell that Graham was an energetic and funny man.

Graham chants "Go Pizza Ranch!" Photo by Drake student Ben Verhasselt.

Graham chants “Go Pizza Ranch!” Photo by Drake student Ben Verhasselt.

Graham’s speech was only about 10 minutes long.  During his speech, he was very engaging with the crowd. Since his speech was short, the remaining 40 minutes of his time was all questions from the audience. There were a wide variety of questions asked, some more difficult than others. The questions asked ranged from relationships with the Middle East to his stance on legalizing marijuana.  He seemed to have a rather rehearsed response to every question. This was the third Pizza Ranch event he had been to that day, so I’m sure he had heard most of the questions already that day. I was impressed by how well Graham answered all the questions from the crowd.

After the crowd finished asking Graham questions he casually walked around the entire Pizza Ranch. While doing this he talked to people who were eating dinner. During this time multiple people had their picture taken with Graham. I also took notice that he asked everyone the same question, “Have you ever been to South Carolina?” Many people seemed impressed to have a presidential candidate stop and have a nice conversation with their family at the dinner table.

Overall, I was impressed by Graham. His speech as well as his answers to the questions were great. In addition, the Dallas County Republicans did a spectacular job hosting the event. My entire night at the event was fantastic. I found the best part of the night to be Graham’s final words, “Go Pizza Ranch!” I could not agree more with this statement.