Delegates for this year’s Democratic National Convention were chosen during Ohio’s 12th Congressional District Democratic 2020 Caucus held Tuesday evening in the Willis Education Center’s auditorium located at 74 W. William St., Delaware.
Ed Helvey, former Delaware County Democratic Party chairman, said leadership got a little nervous when it was thought 1,000 people might show up because the auditorium only holds 713 people.
Peg Watkins, current chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Party, said she was freaking out about the possibility as she passed by on her way to the stage to make an announcement.
Afterward, Helvey said it was estimated that only 250 to 270 people attended the caucus.
“I’m so glad it’s over,” he said. “I was the overseer of the whole process, and it’s a lot of work to put together, to get the wranglers and do the walkthrough.”
This was the second caucus Helvey has put together for the Ohio Democratic Party. He said he was asked to do the 2016 caucus.
“I told them that I would do it only if it was held in Delaware,” he said. Because of it, “Delaware was well represented.”
Ohio’s 12th Congressional District is comprised of some if not all of Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum, and Richland counties. One gentleman was overheard saying he fought traffic all the way from the village of Buckeye Lake in Licking County to attend Tuesday’s caucus.
As the crowd gathered in the old high school auditorium, candidates running to become a delegate for either Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, or Amy Klobuchar asked people for their support and votes as they entered or as they were sitting down.
The ones running to be a delegate were easily recognized by the “Bernie in 2020” t-shirt, a life-size cardboard cutout of Pete Buttigieg, or by a hat featuring a bunch of campaign buttons.
At 7 p.m., after Helvey went through a quick laundry list of instructions provided by Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, each group was guided to separate rooms to begin their caucus by a wrangler holding a sign with the name of a presidential candidate. Once settled, a leader in each group read off the names of the potential delegates and instructed the group on how to vote.
Each person was to pick only three male and three female delegates with the top vote-getters potentially being sent to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the national convention, which begins Monday, July 13.
Helvey said that the final six delegates that get to go to Wisconsin for the Democratic National Convention will be determined during the March 17 primary election.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.