Established in 2011, the Iowa Caucus Project boasts four cohorts of college students telling the story of the Iowa caucuses through experiencing the Iowa caucuses. Leading into the 2024 caucuses, we wanted to catch up with the 2020 Iowa Caucus Project staffers, tap into their wisdom, and see what stuck with them four years later.
Runal A. Patel was the Chief of Staff for the 2020 Iowa Caucus Project. Runal studied Economics and Politics at Drake University and currently works as a Senior Analyst at Penta Group in Washington D.C.
Q: Four years after your participation in the project, what has stuck with you?
I have many memories of visiting towns small and large throughout central Iowa with my friends and classmates. There was always such an atmosphere of excitement before caucus events.
Q: Do you have an "only in Iowa" story? If so, what is it?
A few stories jump out. I met Olympian Michelle Kwan at a house party supporting Joe Biden’s campaign, I got to have coffee with Amy Klobuchar’s husband and daughter, I met actress Mandy Moore on campus at a Pete Buttigieg event, and I received a bear hug from Cory Booker at a backyard event in Beaverdale (Photo Credit: Kevin Lowery).
Q: What words of wisdom do you have for current Drake University students anticipating the 2024 Iowa precinct caucuses?
See as many candidates as you can, especially in smaller and more rural areas. No where else will you have the level of informal and candid access to candidates and campaigns that you get in Iowa.
Check out where the other 2020 Iowa Caucus Staffers are now here!