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Jan-03-2008 17:16printcomments

Moving Into the 2008 Election Year with the Iowa Caucuses

Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are the state's choices to advance to the national election.

Iowa Republican Party straw poll
Photo courtesy: Iowa Republican Party

(DES MOINES, Iowa) - Early returns showed Iowa leaning toward John Edwards on the Democratic side, but then Clinton began edging in when 415 of the 1,781 precincts had reported. But as expected Obama took the lead as the state's favorite. The Iowa Republicans pick is Mike Huckabee.

The Iowa Caucuses are an important step during the years that a new U.S. President is elected. The Caucuses are an important step in the electoral process, and a reminder that our nation will soon have another Commander in Chief.

They involve voting, but are not an election. The Caucuses are the method by which Iowa citizens select presidential delegates to the state's County Conventions. This hearkens back to another time when transportation especially in states like Iowa can be difficult. Many say the approach is far outdated for the 21st Century.

This discussion about the Iowa Caucuses will continue at the bottom of the story. What tonight is really about is far more important than the history of any outdated political process, it is first step in the narrowing down of a gaggle of candidates that hail from far and wide. Tonight each of the two main political parties begin the process of selecting their main contender.

The Republican getting most of the attention in Iowa is Mike Huckabee. On the Democratic side, Barack Obama is the favorite. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were almost deadlocked for second place, literally to percentage points as the last precincts were filed.

The Des Moines Register attributes Obama's rise to a dramatic influx of first-time caucus goers, including a sizable group of political independents. Both say they prefer Obama in what everyone agrees has been a very competitive campaign.

Obama was the choice of 32 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, and that is up from 28 percent in the Register's last poll in late November. Hillary Clinton held steady with 25 percent and Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was virtually unchanged at 24 percent.

Of course it is important to remember that Iowa is only one state in a diverse nation and the values and choices of Iowans are not a reflection of the way people feel about the candidates in the other 49 states. Unique for the highly conservative Midwest, Iowa is a "blue state" which sided with the Democrats in the 2000 elections. It has seven votes in the Electoral College, which is the same as Oregon.

It is our goal to bring you the results as they come in tonight. Those numbers will be reflected in the story subtitle which will be updated.

Here are the latest updated results from the Iowa Democratic Party:

  • Senator Barack Obama : 37.58%
  • Senator John Edwards : 29.75%
  • Senator Hillary Clinton : 29.47%
  • Governor Bill Richardson : 2.11%
  • Senator Joe Biden : 0.93%
  • Uncommitted : 0.14%
  • Senator Chris Dodd : 0.02%

* Iowa currently has all of its 1781 precincts reporting.

Mike Huckabee is being declared winner of the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses.

Iowa Caucuses: History

The Iowa caucus are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa elect delegates to the county convention to which their precinct belongs in a caucus.

There are 99 counties in Iowa and thus 99 conventions. These county conventions then select delegates for both Iowa's Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions (the national conventions).

The Iowa caucus is noteworthy for the amount of media attention it receives during U.S. presidential election years: Since 1972, the Iowa caucus has been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States.

Although only about one percent of the nation's delegates are chosen by the Iowa state convention, the initial caucus has served as an early indication of which candidates for President might win the nomination of their political party at that party's national convention.

The political parties run the caucuses according to party rules. The Iowa Caucuses are not governed by the Secretary of State's Office.

The Iowa caucus is commonly recognized as the first step in the U.S. presidential nomination process for both political parties. It came to national attention in 1972 when the New York Times reported on how non-primary states would choose their delegates for the national conventions. Democratic operative Norma S. Matthews, state co-chair of the George McGovern campaign, helped engineer the early January start for Iowa. Four years later, the Iowa Republican Party scheduled its party caucuses on the same date as the Democrats.

In 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was able to use the publicity of his "win" to achieve victory in the New Hampshire primary, and then to win his party's nomination and eventually the Presidency. Since then, Presidential candidates have increased their focus on winning the Iowa caucus.

The Republicans in 1980 began the tradition of holding a straw poll at their caucuses, giving the appearance of a primary election. Lessons are learned though, and when George H. W. Bush campaigned extensively in Iowa, defeating Ronald Reagan, he still to win the nomination. Iowa is only one state and not a reflection of the nation at large.

The Caucuses have been a financial boon to the state, but insiders say the political value of the Iowa caucuses has gone up and down over the years. In 1988, for example, the candidates who eventually won the nominations of both parties came in third in Iowa. In elections without a sitting President or Vice President, the Iowa winner has gone on to the nomination only about half the time.

When Iowa Senator Tom Harkin ran for the Democratic nomination in 1992, none of the other Democratic candidates chose to compete in Iowa. That greatly minimized the importance of the Iowa Caucus to the nomination process. President Bush was unopposed on the Republican side.

Democrats have tried to preserve the position of Iowa and New Hampshire in their nominating schedules, but the Republicans have not. Alaska and Hawaii generally have their caucuses before Iowa, and in 1988 the Hawaii victory of Pat Robertson and the 1996 Louisiana victory of Pat Buchanan over Senator Phil Gramm had a significant impact on the results in Iowa, showing them as even less of an indicator of the national picture than before.

Still, the caucuses are closely followed by the media and can be an important factor in determining who remains in the race and who drops out. But to show how things can change, the only non-incumbent candidate to win his party's caucus and go on to win the general election was George W. Bush in 2000.

Neither Reagan nor Clinton won prior to their first terms. No incumbent President has run opposed in his own party's caucus since Jimmy Carter in 1980.

In the months leading up to the 2004 caucus, predictions showed candidates Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean neck-and-neck for first place, with John Kerry and John Edwards far behind them. Negative campaign ads attacking each other by the two front runners soured the voters on them, and a last minute decision by Kerry to put all his remaining money in Iowa swung voters towards him. Gephardt's presidential hopes were dashed and Dean's badly battered, as Kerry become the second non-incumbent to win both Iowa and New Hampshire since Edmund Muskie in 1972.

Special thanks to Wikipedia for information on the Iowa Caucuses

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Jefferson January 7, 2008 9:24 am (Pacific time)

Henry/SFI you sure are pithy, clear and to the point!Not! LOL You are not going to like November 2008, but you will understand by October, it will be clear. Though with Iran about to screw up with our military, it may become clearer much sooner...

Henry Ruark January 7, 2008 4:57 am (Pacific time)

Anyone preferring dredful possibilities of "Happenstance Huckabee" Or "NOT-RC" Romney, or "Already-Gone" McCain is surely free to vote for whichever is the least-wrong choice. "Vote early and often --then rue realities later"is now the neocon pinnacle-of-power-past UNpotent aphorism.

Jefferson January 6, 2008 10:43 am (Pacific time)

Hillary is finished. She will lose New Hampshire, then be wiped out in South Carolina. B. Hussein Obama will not get enough delegates and so my guess is Gore or Kerry will get drafted (hopefully, because they are so beatable). Watch the upcoming fireworks people as these democratic presidential wannabes demonstrate their inability to lead...they are already showing it now. Go look at today's video on Hillary...she has not been stereotyped, she is what she is.

Neal Feldman January 5, 2008 3:34 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson - my words are clear. See evidence dated January 4, 2008 5:30 pm (Pacific time) below. Ah well...

Jefferson January 5, 2008 8:37 am (Pacific time)

So feldman what you're saying is that you are Jeepers Creepers? I see where the latter part of the moniker applies...something you've dealt with since childhood no doubt.

Neal Feldman January 4, 2008 9:25 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson/Jeepers Creepers - Talking to yourself now? LOL. Clearly even you seem to agree no one e;se would ever agree with your BS than your own delusion spawned alter ego. Like I said... pathetic. Ah well...

Neal Feldman January 4, 2008 9:22 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson - They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... even if ineptly attempted as you seem to do. Your pathetic delusional practice of projection (see DSM-IV) has already been identified. Your continued practice just makes you look more feeble every day. But do keep it up, like I said before you play the fool admirably. You seem almost uniquely suited to the role. Ah well...

Jeepers Creepers January 4, 2008 5:30 pm (Pacific time)

By the way Albert, hello from Jefferson!

Jeepers Creepers January 4, 2008 5:18 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson, I just got back from a bums rush haircut. They were about to close. I laughed about alot of things. Which thing did you find amusing?

Jeepers Creepers January 4, 2008 3:37 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson, You may never have been wrong but you sure are crazier than hell! You are almost as outspoken as I! I see your Good Humor and attempt to get a reaction. Cooties and Kudos to us both!

Jefferson January 4, 2008 3:24 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Jeepers, did you have tears of laughter streaming down your face when you typed that? Note: I wrote the latter to see what it was like to write like was a very dark feeling...feldman, you poor little idiot, what a horrible world you live in. I thought it was just another land of Oz that you came from, it's far worse. Anyway, Ron Paul has some very good idea's, but he is simply out of his mind, but then so were Carter and Clinton. Jeepers, say hi to Albert for me...

Jeepers Creepers January 4, 2008 2:27 pm (Pacific time)

Actually, Ron Paul would be the best President but because he wants to do the right thing by dismantling the corrupt Federal Reserve and putting a stop to the I.R.S. with regards to Federal Taxes on your wages, the very powerful bankers have made the most intelligent and honest man out to be a joke when in fact he is the only one to talk about the non-ratification of the 16th ammendment and abolishing the corrupt Federal Reserve System. He stands for no taxation on individual income, only corporate income. None of your federal dollars out of your paychecks goes to anything but pay the interest to the Federal Reserve which prints money out of nothing and does not have one ounce of gold backing their fiat. I would like to be in that business. The Federal Reserve is a PRIVATE CORPORATION and is not part of the Government.

Jeepers Creepers January 4, 2008 2:18 pm (Pacific time)

You heard it hear! Celery and Obama Bin Laden will be put together as President and Vice President. Hussein does not have enough foreign experience to work with the world rulers and elites, therefore, sad man Hussein is our next Vice President. I actually like this combo, I just like to play with names. Congratulations President Clinton and Vice President Obama! They will work together well!

Neal Feldman January 4, 2008 12:31 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson - I see your fevered delusions continue unabated. It is laughable that anyone could have typed what you just did with a straight face. Were tears of uncontrolled laughter streaming down your face or are you so out of touch with reality that you actually believe the drivel you spew? Ah well...

Neal Feldman January 4, 2008 12:28 pm (Pacific time)

Julie - Yes, if he had not placed first after putting all his eggs in the Iowa basket he would have been finished. That is not just my view thart has been the considered view of political viewers for the past few months watching Obama's Iowa or Bust campaign. What remains to be seen is what the tallies are after a more broad sampling following whatever Super Tuesday this year presents. Likely as usual the Iowa results will be irrelevant. Ah well...

Henry Ruark January 4, 2008 11:29 am (Pacific time)

To all: N-N recently used psychological smear-word with reference to professional manual for psychiatrists. Literature from publisher warns amateurs NOT to rely on such reference due to real dangers unless properly used by professional psychoanalyst. Here we see sample of one place he did NOT look; he states of self: "I am never wrong, never !" Does that tell you something about what page to look on, in same manual, my long-held copy updated yearly, after 3-yr sojourn (double-meaning !!) with noted lady psychoanalyst in Chicago. We really used manual, and I sometimes sat in on sessions, when subject permitted, as copy assistant. SO can assure you what he reveals so far in Comments makes me wonder why "pathetic old man" still permitted to be at large.

Jefferson January 4, 2008 8:19 am (Pacific time)

The national election will be won by the most "conservative" candidate. Iowa, with a nearly 95% caucasian demographic and with just about 200,000 voting the other day makes this election much ado about nothing. Both Huckster and Obama will come under the political microscope. The Clintoon attack machine will start to move forward and shouts of racism will become more pronounced. Currently more and more African-American professors are combining in an attack on Bubba Clinton's administration and claiming he badly hurt American blacks. I would not be surprised if Gore or Kerry get drafted when they see Hillary has no chance...remember her negatives are nearly 50% and it will be the white male (it always has been up to this time) who will decide the election. If we get attacked between now and next November 1st, it will not only be a Republican back as president (already a 100% lock), the conservatives will also win back all of congress. I am never wrong, never...Jeffersonism 101.

Julie January 4, 2008 1:25 am (Pacific time)

"Finished," Neal? Wow, presumptuous of you to say the least. Obama has his act together, that's the difference. He's not running the show in the good old fashioned kiss-ass way, and it's taking people by surprise. GOOD. We need the change!!! Hurrah for such a lead, that's how it's DONE!

Neal Feldman January 4, 2008 1:06 am (Pacific time)

Ron Paul is a libertarian. They have a party and it is small and inconsequential for a great many reasons. Basically it is the party of "I got mine the rest of you can go to hell". The Robber Barons of the 19th century would feel right at home in that party. So since he is a Libertarian is it any surprise that he is a non-starter in the GOP? And if internet popularity were the deciding factor in a presidential election our next president would likely be the guy who sets fire to his pants on youtube lighting one of his farts. Get a clue. Ah well...

Neal Feldman January 4, 2008 12:27 am (Pacific time)

Obama put his all into Iowa. Had he NOT placed first he would have been finished. Even so he finished in a close three way race. Polls in NH show the more common national trend... with Clinton holding still a sizable lead. Edwards made a stronger than expected showing and it will be interesting if he holds onto such in NH. I was pleased to see Guliani almost invisible in Iowa. He should save himself the embarrassment as he is far too GOP to be a democrat and far too moderate a republican to win a primary in a party still (for the moment) controlled by the religious reich. Someday the GOP will again be a party for fiscal conservatives and moderate to progressive social people who want less government intrusion into personal lives (the religious reich is all about govt intrusion into private lives). I really hope Huckabee wins the GOP nod as he will be crushed nationally against whoever the dems nominate which should put the final nail in the coffin of the religious reich's stranglehold on the GOP. Ah well...

Janet January 3, 2008 11:00 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for the coverage. I agree with the other Janet in that Iowa does not reflect the rest of the country. Just the beginning of the process.

Now, hold on! January 3, 2008 10:17 pm (Pacific time)

In response to the previous statements. Hold on. These Caucases provide a wonderful opportunity for us to see how the candidates do with a real election piece. And in direct reply to "who is Iowa anyway?" Iowa is a piece of America. They are Americans voting for change. ....Voting....

Janet January 3, 2008 9:48 pm (Pacific time)

Who is Iowa again? Not the rest of us for sure. We need to abandon these practices.

RP08 January 3, 2008 8:27 pm (Pacific time)

If an Internet caucus were held today Ron Paul would by far be the winner, and is the only candidate for real change.
Status Quo will win vote depublican

A January 3, 2008 8:22 pm (Pacific time)

It's a shame that Ron Paul is not getting the media coverage he greatly deserves. I think that everyone needs to listen to what he has to say. Check the history of all of the candidates and what they have voted for or against and see who should really be the next president.

Cody Sheets January 3, 2008 7:53 pm (Pacific time)

Nice to see someone watched the elections. I predicted Obama the winner when I saw statistics on the youth vote in Iowa, and the turn out. It had been said before that if more voters voted in this electio nthan last time, Barack stood a good chance of winning. But, it wasn't clear to many, or to me, that he would win with such a dangerously gapped margin. While CNN is cautious in declaring this election in favor of Obama, I am confident that this is a sign of the nations democratic thoughts. Way to go Obama. I look forward to the future elections!

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