Democrats came from as far away as Scott City to vote Saturday in the party caucus at the Hoisington Activity Center. In the final tally, there were 130 votes for Bernie Sanders and 67 for Hillary Clinton. Southwest Kansas will now send three delegates to vote for Sanders and one to vote for Clinton at the National Convention.
There were 47 Democratic Party caucuses in Kansas Saturday, one in each Senate District.
After showing they were registered Democrat voters, those who attended the caucus were given a wristband and asked to write the name of their candidate on a sheet of paper. At 3 p.m., voters entered the gymnasium and sat in sections marked for each candidate: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley or Bernie Sanders. O’Malley dropped out of the race earlier this year, but there were a few in his section, initially.
Nancy Farmer, Hoisington, presided over the meeting, and explained that “votes” would be based on the number of people in each section. She asked if there were any “undecided” voters, and was told there was one. That announcement was followed by some cheers as people from the Clinton and Sanders sections urged the voter to join them.
Speeches were offered for both candidates:
Hillary Boatman from Claflin said she supports Sanders because, “He has compassion and values. He is not a corporation and will not be bought. He’s an honest politician – that should be an oxymoron; he has ethics. I’d like to think it’s pretty profound to have the 99 percent in mind, not just the millionaires.”
Kolton Landreth, a Barton Community College student from Wichita, spoke for Clinton, praising her impact on foreign policy when she served as Secretary of State.
“She’s an advocate for children, women, families and equal pay for women,” Lane said. “She’s the most qualified candidate.”
Scott Mitchum, a party leader from Ellinwood, spoke for Democratic Party candidates in general. Those who think they are the only Kansas Democrats in this part of the state should look at the 197 people there. “You are not alone,” he said.
Mitchum urged voters to pay attention to all elections, not just the one for president.
“It’s going to take us at the local level to quit electing these idiots who are ruining our country,” he said.
The Associated Press reports that heading into Saturday’s round of voting, Clinton had 1,066 delegates to Sanders’ 432, including superdelegates — members of Congress, governors and party officials who can support the candidate of their choice. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. There were 109 at stake on Saturday.
Editor's note: This article was revised on March 7 to correct the name of Kolton Landreth.