TREASURE VALLEY, Idaho — After an unprecedented election year marked by an economic downturn, racial tensions, and a pandemic that has now killed over 200,000 Americans, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden went head-to-head Tuesday in their long-anticipated first presidential debate.
Meanwhile, across the Treasure Valley, like-minded Idahoans gathered to watch — and cheer on — their common candidate of choice, as Biden and Trump debated everything from health care, to the Supreme Court vacancy, to a coronavirus vaccine.
In Caldwell Tuesday, several dozen Trump supporters filled up a drive-in movie theater for a watch party where folks were encouraged to express their uncensored opinions.
"[Trump] is a manly-man," said Caldwell resident Julie Heigel. "He stands up for himself. He is tall. He is kind of like John Wayne. You know? He doesn't take crap from anybody."
"He is not spineless," she added. "He is not apologizing for America. America is great. That is why so many people want to come here... I think that Trump is great for this country and I can't wait for him to lead us through four more years."
Meanwhile, Idaho for Biden campaign staff held a viewing party at their headquarters on Fairview in Boise, not open to the public. They shared their thoughts on why Biden's their candidate of choice.
“He has this sense of empathy, he has this sense of decency," said Larry LaRocco, co-chair of the Idaho for Biden campaign. "He wants to stop the lying, he wants to have things based on science and fact and truth, and that’s coming across right now.”
Campaign staff watched the debate together from seats distanced six feet apart.
"He's just sort of looking into the barrel of the camera and talking right to America, to a hundred million people tonight, and telling them that things are gonna change, we're gonna unify this country, we're gonna put people back to work, and we're gonna restore our image and our role around the world," said LaRocco.
Trump won over Idaho voters with 60% of the vote in 2016 over Hillary Clinton.