The Tazewell County Democrats gauged interest in the party’s 2020 presidential candidates at this year’s Pekin Marigold Festival.
More than 50 percent of the 153 voters who participated opted for former Vice President Joe Biden or U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in an unscientific straw poll.
“Many people were a little overwhelmed by the number of choices on the table, but they were excited to have an opportunity to weigh in, however informal it may be," said Tazewell County Democratic Central Committee Chairwoman Brittany Miller.
She thinks many people are waiting for the field to narrow down before making a more definite decision on who to back in the March 2020 primary. Several candidates have already dropped out as they failed to meet the threshold for inclusion in the Democratic primary debates.
Other popular choices included South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats.
Miller said climate change, jobs and healthcare costs are among the top concerns local Democrats voice.
Tazewell County last voted for a Democrat for president in 1992. The county opted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by nearly 30 percentage points.
The party currently holds four of 22 county board seats. It recently launched a new website and social media pages to increase its outreach, Miller said.
Miller said this is the first time the local party has conducted a straw poll to gather opinions on candidates at a festival. Another straw poll is set for this week’s Morton Pumpkin Festival.