URBANDALE, Iowa — The first GOP primary debate had eight candidates on stage up in Milwaukee, WI, with the former president not in attendance.

Back in central Iowa, voters watched on eagerly as they look to see who they will be voting for when the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus starts early next year.

There were not a lot of watch parties around the Des Moines metro, but Vivek Ramawamy’s campaign held a gathering at Tito’s Lounge in Urbandale.

WHO 13 News asked voters there what issues are top of mind, what are they looking for in a candidate and what they make of former President Donald Trump not being on the stage.

“That has been bad, inflation has been so bad we have had thousands of trucking companies going under, you know,” said Dado Kuckodse of Des Moines.

“I went for Biden, but right now Vivek is a better option because he represents the immigrants and he has got good ideas and I like it,” said Ned Dzafic of Des Moines.

“I don’t care at all, I think we need someone to take over the country as a clear vision. The Democratic party is destroying our country,” said Rich Lee of Ames.

“I’m excited to follow all the new possible leaders and I am looking forward to the potential candidates for their experience, integrity, vision and courage,” said Swailow Yan of Urbandale.

The second presidential primary debate will be on September 27 in Simi Valley, California.