Illinois residents trek to Iowa to support Democratic presidential candidates ahead of Monday caucuses

DES MOINES, Iowa (WLS) -- Illinois residents are crossing the state's border to support Democratic presidential candidates and figure out who they want to vote for in March.

Many are joining candidates as the crisscross Iowa in an attempt to meet as many voters as possible before Monday's caucuses.

The Bernie Sanders headquarters in Iowa City drew dozens of volunteers from around Chicago and its suburbs.

"I think that the kind of volunteer movement that's going on here in Iowa and just the unprecedented energy behind it is a great testament to the Bernie Sanders campaign," said University of Chicago graduate student James Skretta.

Skretta, an Iowa resident, helped organize a satellite caucus Monday night in Hyde Park. This election is the first time the Iowa Democratic Party has allowed them, so Iowans who can't get home for the caucus can still participate.

With polls showing that many Iowans still have not made up their minds, this state appears up for grabs for the top tier candidates who spent the day at one town hall meeting after another.

A Joe Biden event in Cedar Rapids drew a school gymnasium full of potential voters, as well as those from other states taking advantage of the opportunity to see the candidates up close.

"I mean I love politics, and I think it's important that were all engaged, particularly now in our country," said Mike McDonell, of Austin, Texas. "When your 14-year-old daughter comes up, she said she wants to drive 1,000 miles to Iowa to go to the Iowa caucuses you know I don't know how you can pass that up."

McDonnell's daughter Hadley called the caucuses "super cool."

"Everyone really cares a lot if they wanted to make sure to pick the right candidate, I think it's really cool," Hadley said.

The outcome in Iowa often influences voters in future primaries. Mary Kubilus, of Freeport Illinois, was doing her homework visiting numerous candidate events across the Hawkeye State in advance of the Illinois primary next month.

Kubilus said she still isn't sure who she'll vote for.

"I kind of had a few picked out, but after seeing others in person I'm more confused," she said.

Sunday will be another full day of campaigning. The candidates listed more than two dozen meet-and-greets and gatherings across the state, including a couple of Super Bowl watch parties.
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