See presidential candidates at Register Political Soapbox


This week’s opening of the Iowa State Fair also brings the return of the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox.

Thirteen presidential candidates are scheduled to speak, starting on Thursday and continuing through Saturday, Aug. 19.

Since the Iowa State Fair’s founding in 1854, local, state and federal candidates and elected officials have flocked to the state’s largest event to meet and greet Iowa voters. The fair even attracted a sitting president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1954.

And since 1972, when Iowa Democrats pushed their caucuses to the front of the line in the presidential nominating process, the State Fair has become an even greater magnet for presidential hopefuls.

A crowd of people gathers at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

The Political Soapbox, held along the Grand Concourse in front of the Horner Service Center, offers candidates a stage, a microphone and 20 minutes to address fairgoers who are gathered to listen or happen to pass by.

Candidates can use the 20 minutes however they want. If raindrops start to fall or they sense the crowd is wilting under the sun’s glare, some cut their remarks short. Others go the full 20 minutes, until our timekeeper cuts them off. It’s up to the candidate whether to take audience questions. The Register news staff will provide coverage and on-demand video of the speeches.

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