A Time-lapse of a Campaign Office Opening
DES MOINES, Iowa — Campaign offices act as a home base for presidential campaigns across the state of Iowa, and campaigns like to make the official opening of their office a public event where supporters can come together and celebrate. I was fortunate enough to receive permission from the Amy for America campaign to witness their downtown Des Moines office opening from start to finish. Below is a time-lapse of my day.
11:44 a.m.: I arrived at the downtown Des Moines office a little over an hour before the official office opening at 1:00 p.m. Along the path up to the office was a row of “Amy for America” yard signs to help attendees know they were headed to the right place.
11:47 a.m.: I was met at the door to the office by Winston Taylor, who is a field organizer in the Polk County area. I shadowed Taylor throughout the day, and he first showed me around the office. There was a room in the back that would be used for phone banking, a room in the front that included a table for snacks and beverages for guests at the office opening, and the walls were covered in “Amy for America” art.
12:01 p.m.: The office opening was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (when Senator Klobuchar herself would arrive and speak), but Klobuchar supporters began arriving about an hour beforehand. I watched as Taylor stood outside the office entrance at a table filled with “Amy for America” buttons, stickers, and posters. As Taylor ensured that attendees signed-in to the event, he also took the opportunity to introduce himself to new faces and reconnect with long-time Klobuchar supporters that he has met throughout the caucus season.
12:18: Everyone knows that an office opening is incomplete without bubbles! Klobuchar staffers set up a portable bubble-making machine outside as entertainment for the younger audience members at the office opening. The bubble machine has at least once been a source of amusement for Klobuchar staffers as well – I was intrigued to hear through a conversation with a Klobuchar staffer that the bubble machine once went off inside of the office. The staffer joked that they all knew the office was clean now thanks to the bubbles.
12:22 p.m.: I quickly ducked into the office to see what was happening on the inside. The room was already half-full, and I noticed that Klobuchar staffers spoke with as many of the attendees as possible; this was symbolic of the retail campaigning that makes the Iowa caucuses so different from any other political event.
12:29 p.m.: As we waited for the 1 o’clock hour to arrive, I took the opportunity to speak with some of the attendees at the office opening and find out why they support Senator Klobuchar. I had an interesting conversation with Ray Meylor (pictured) who was born and raised in Iowa, is a U.S. veteran, and has a strong family background in agriculture.
Meylor said that he used to be a Republican but was dismayed by the financial decisions of some Republican presidents, including the war in Iraq and the trade wars under President Trump which have caused unstable markets for U.S. farmers (including those in Iowa).
Meylor viewed Klobuchar as a down-to-earth person, a bipartisan worker, an expert in both urban and rural policies, and someone that can bring an air of civility to the presidency. As our conversation came to a close, I asked him if he plans on caucusing for Senator Klobuchar, which he affirmed.
12:52 p.m.: About ten minutes away from Senator Klobuchar’s arrival at the office, I noted that the room was packed with people, making it difficult to find space. I snuck into a corner of the office, which also happened to be by the door where Klobuchar would make her entrance. I listened to the chatter of nearby supporters — one woman was ready with her copy of Klobuchar’s book The Senator Next Door in case she could get the author to sign it.
1:02 p.m.: Senator Klobuchar arrived at the office and was met with loud applause and cheers from the crowd. After making her way to the front of the small crowd, she gave a fifteen-minute speech where she thanked her supporters and outlined the mission of the campaign. Klobuchar repeated the phrase “the obstacles are the path” when describing how she would tackle the issues that face the United States.
It was clear that Senator Klobuchar was in her element with this crowd and treated them to numerous humorous anecdotes; for example, Klobuchar joked that she knew the secret to dealing with all-male committees when discussing medical issues pertaining to women (go into as much detail as possible!).
1:22 p.m.: I reconnected with Taylor back at the office entrance. He waited outside to catch people as they left and asked them to join the campaign at upcoming events such as the Polk County Steak Fry. Meanwhile, despite having another office opening to get to at 2:30 p.m., Klobuchar stayed behind to take pictures and chat with those in attendance (perhaps symbolic of a traditional long Minnesotan goodbye?).
2:04 p.m.: At this time, only campaign staff members were present in the office with Senator Klobuchar. They took a moment to celebrate a staff member’s birthday before Klobuchar left for her next event in Council Bluffs, IA.
2:07 p.m.: Taylor began to clean up the office. Before I left, Taylor told me about the campaign’s schedule for the rest of the day, which included making phone calls, data entry, and door-knocking.