EDWARDSVILLE — After a night of deliberations, Madison County Democrats selected Hillary Clinton as their choice for the Democratic presidential nomination in the county's first caucus-style straw poll.
"Tonight Democrats across Madison County came out in force to choose the next president of the United States, and after much deliberation and debate, Hillary Clinton was chosen," candidate for state representative in the 112th District Katie Stuart said. "After a lively debate among friendly Democrats, Clinton received 47.6 percent and Sanders received 46.2 percent."
Local Democrats convened in seven locations across Madison County for the party's first-ever caucus, set to coincide with the Iowa caucuses. Although delegates will not be selected until the March 15th primary election, the straw poll results will be used on official Madison County Democratic Party materials and social media.
"The caucus format is a wonderful example of direct democracy where neighbors come together discuss their preferences, try to convince the undecided and ultimately agree on a result," Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida said. "It is our hope that even though only one candidate won the straw poll, the Democratic Party will be more unified by giving everyone a voice."
Approximately 600 citizens attended the event, which closely followed the Iowa caucus rules. Local party officials were on hand at each location to welcome the crowd, register voters and facilitate the caucus. Although only voting-age attendees were counted, parents were encouraged to bring their children to observe and learn more about the political process.
"Today's Madison County Democratic Party is a modern party. We are open, inclusive and working to be more responsive to the issues of the day," Madison County Board Member Kelly Tracy said. "It was encouraging to see so many citizens come out to meet like-minded candidates and discuss the important issues facing our country."
Party leaders say the event gives them an edge going into the March primary.
"The straw poll is only the beginning," Napp said. "Democrats are energized, Democrats are excited, and Democrats have momentum going into the primary and beyond."