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Election 2008:
Advocate Coverage of the Iowa Caucus

Election 2008:
Advocate Coverage of the Iowa Caucus


Meet R.J. Droll, a Biden supporter and the LGBT caucuser whom we will follow live tonight as he navigates his way through an Iowa caucus for the very first time.

Caucusgoer: R.J. Droll

Age: 31

Candidate: Joe Biden

Hometown: Des Moines

First-time Caucuser?: Yes.

Candidate in 2004: Gen. Wesley Clark, but he didn't run in the '04 caucus.

Why Biden?

"I'm not a single-issue voter," says Droll, "and he's very astute about the issues going on in the Middle East. He actually had a plan for getting out of Iraq long before it was en vogue to have a plan."

Droll also likes the fact the Biden coauthored the Federal Violent Crimes Control and Law Enforcement and the Violence Against Women Act. "That lets me know that he's going to be looking out for people who aren't just white heterosexual males," he says. "He also has 24 years of experience."

"He may be polling in the single digits, but you never know. The night before the caucus in 2004, we were all saying, 'John Kerry who?' So you really don't know."

Second Choice? (In the Iowa Democratic caucus, if your candidate does not win the support of at least 15% of the people at your caucus site, he or she is not considered "viable," and you must choose another candidate.)

Droll is in the unusual position of backing Gov. Bill Richardson as a second choice, who also might be not viable. In that case, he would be back to Sen. Hillary Clinton, which is exactly where he was at the beginning.

"This is where I met and decided to support Senator Biden," says Droll, referring to the Ritual Cafe, the lesbian-owned and operated gathering spot in downtown Des Moines where we were seated. "We sat here for 45 minutes to an hour -- no press, no pressure. Up until then, I started as a Hillary supporter."

Gay Marriage

Biden doesn't support same-sex marriage, but Droll liked the honesty with which he approached the subject during that hour-long conversation. "When he explained his opinion on gay marriage, he was coming at it from his heart -- not from necessarily what we wanted to hear," Droll says. "He said the nation just isn't ready for marriage in 2008. He supports equal rights for everyone -- he thinks everyone should have the same rights. If he's willing to support that, that would set us on the right path."

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