This thread is for sharing stories from your precinct caucus meetings as well as for discussing the results once they have been reported.
Iowa Republicans and Democrats, I’m particularly interested to know how many candidates for Congress or the state legislature addressed your caucus, or had a campaign representative greet caucus-goers and speak on their behalf. GOP Congressional challenger Rod Blum is planning to meet Republicans in two IA-01 counties instead of caucusing in his home town of Dubuque. GOP Representative Tom Latham, who is running against Leonard Boswell next year in IA-03, claims to have lined up leaders in all 384 precincts across the district. Steve King’s challenger, Christie Vilsack, is speaking to all Democratic caucus-goers in Story County’s sole caucus location, Ames High School.
UPDATE: Adding results after the jump.
9:00 pm update: It’s too close to call, with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both hovering around 24 percent, and Ron Paul around 22 percent.
I haven’t seen any overall turnout numbers for Republicans, but the votes reported seem low so far.
IowaPolitics.com has a map showing results from all 99 counties here. LATE UPDATE: IowaPolitics.com no longer exists, but the same map can be found here.
According to KCCI TV, the GOP is on track to have lower turnout than in January 2008. There are only about 50,000 votes from the roughly 50 percent of precincts that have reported so far.
Reporting on my Democratic caucus experience: I thought President Barack Obama’s address by video was quite effective. I’ve never been particularly moved by his “great speeches,” like the “Yes we can” speech after the New Hampshire primary. Tonight he spoke in a very conversational, almost intimate style. I will post the video or transcript if I can find it later.
After Obama’s speech, they unfortunately wasted people’s time on a couple of useless questions asked by volunteers in Coralville and Cedar Rapids. The questions were along the lines of, “How can you explain to voters what an awesome job you’re doing, and how can we help you with that?” A bunch of precincts on the west side of Polk County were crammed into a Valley High School room that was way too small for the crowd. It was hot and stuffy, and they should have let people move on to their precinct rooms immediately after the president’s initial remarks.
Iowa Senate district 22 candidate Desmund Adams addressed our gathering shortly before Obama’s video speech. I thought Adams presented himself extremely well, and I’ll write more about what he said in a forthcoming post on the Senate district 22 race.
In my precinct, the chair attempted to move directly to the election of county convention delegates. I had a feeling that would happen when I saw the Iowa Democratic Party’s agenda for this evening. I had to request to speak on behalf of uncommitted, and she frankly did not look happy about that. But several of my neighbors did agree to stand with me, so we were able to get one uncommitted delegate to the Polk County convention.
I haven’t seen any numbers from the Iowa Democratic Party regarding the uncommitted results from other precincts. The IDP promised a couple of weeks ago to release that information.
Shortly after 10 pm, it’s still too close to call between Romney and Santorum. Ron Paul gave his concession speech, as it was clear he would finish in third place. He expressed pride in having one of three tickets out of Iowa, and he described himself as one of only two Republican candidates who can run a “viable national campaign” for president. That’s a dig at Santorum, but I would expect a lot of money to roll toward Santorum now that he is a leading “not Romney.”
Gingrich gave his speech a little before 10:30. He vowed to battle on for a long time, sharply criticized Romney and Paul. He vowed not to run negative television commercials: “We are not going to go out and run nasty ads…but, I do reserve the right to tell the truth.”
Open Secrets reported about $782,200 in Iowa spending by the pro-Gingrich super-PAC Winning Our Future during the past few weeks. I wonder how much they will be able and willing to spend supporting him in the early primary states.
State Senator Brad Zaun is introduced Michele Bachmann at 10:30, urging her to “take it to South Carolina, take it to New Hampshire, take it to Florida.” She’s speaking now and doesn’t sound like she is dropping out of the race.
Democratic turnout statewide appears to have been only around 10 percent of the 2008 turnout. I’ve heard from several Polk County Democrats who had 10 or fewer attendees in their precincts. The Iowa Democratic Party released this statement from chair Sue Dvorsky:
“Tonight’s caucus successfully brought our supporters together, and we’re overwhelmed that more than 25,000 Iowans turned out to talk about the President’s record and vision for an economy that restores security for the middle class. We not only saw how excited Iowans are to support President Obama, but to also work for his reelection. The Iowa caucus was a great opportunity to test our campaign organization and expand our volunteer base as we move toward November. In a strong show of support, more than 7,500 Iowans tonight pledged to volunteer for the campaign over the course of the next year, underscoring their commitment to continuing the change the country has seen under President Obama’s leadership.”
I’d be more impressed if I didn’t know that roughly 50,000 Iowa Democrats showed up to caucus in 1996, when President Bill Clinton was unopposed for the nomination.
I don’t know what was the bigger problem: lack of enthusiasm for President Obama or the Iowa Democratic Party’s decision to consolidate so many precinct caucuses in central locations. Many counties had just one caucus site for the whole county.
Shortly before 11, fifth-place finisher Rick Perry spoke to his supporters. He got a little choked up reading a letter from one of his campaign volunteers aloud. I expected him to say he would go straight to South Carolina, but Perry said he would return to Texas, “assess the results” and determine whether there is “a path forward” for his candidacy. I wonder how much campaign cash he has left.
Santorum speaking to supporters around 11:15 pm: beings by saying, “Game on.”
Looks like Romney will win by a few hundred votes; most of the outstanding precincts are in more urban counties. But Santorum can still credibly claim victory.
Check that: as of about 11:40 pm, 99 percent of results are in, and Santorum leads Romney by five votes. Ridiculously close.
Romney started his speech around 11:40. Made clear that even though we don’t know the final totals, he considers it a victory. Like Santorum, he gave a little-changed version of his stump speech.
He has to be very happy that Rick Perry seems to be out of the race, and the latest “not Romney” has hardly any campaign cash.
At 12:45 am, one precinct remains to be counted, and Santorum leads Romney by 29,968 votes to 29,964. In 2008 Romney placed a distant second in Iowa with 29,949 votes.
WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATES: Final numbers from the Iowa GOP:
Romney 30,015 votes (25 percent)
Santorum 30,007 votes (25 percent)
Paul 26,219 (21 percent)
Gingrich 16,251 (13 percent)
Perry 12,604 (10 percent)
Bachmann 6,073 (5 percent)
Huntsman 745 (1 percent)
Looks like Santorum won a plurality of votes in 62 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Paul carried 18 according to this map at IowaPolitics.com, but one of those (Louisa) was actually a tie with Santorum. Romney carried 17 counties, and Perry carried two (Union and Taylor).
The Iowa Democratic Party posted county delegate totals for each county here. At this writing, only 93 percent of results are in. Obama has about 98.5 percent of the state delegate equivalents, while “other” has 1.5 percent. I will update later when the chart reflects all 100 percent of Iowa Democratic precinct results.
Bachmann suspended her presidential campaign at a West Des Moines press conference. Excerpt from her remarks:
I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. And I told you the truth that our country is in very serious trouble, and that this might be the last election to turn the nation around before we go down the road to socialism […] I didn’t tell you what the polls said that you wanted to hear. I didn’t tell you what I knew to be false. I didn’t try to spin you. I listened to the people of Iowa and all across America, and they agreed that President Obama and his socialist policies must be stopped […]
Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice and so I have decided to stand aside. And I believe that if we are going to repeal Obamacare, turn our country around and take back our country, we must do so united. And I believe that we must rally around the person that our country and our party and our people select to be that standard-bearer. But make no mistake: I will continue to be a strong voice. I will continue to stand and fight.
FINAL UPDATE: For county-level Republican results, this map at a site run by the Cedar Rapids Gazette and KCRG-TV is user-friendly. Santorum won a plurality of votes in the following 62 counties: Adair, Appanoose, Audubon, Benton, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Davis, Delaware, Des Moines, Emmet, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Guthrie, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jasper, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lucas, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, O’Brien, Osceola, Page, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Ringgold, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Tama, Wapello, Warren, Wayne, Webster, Winnebago, Woodbury, Worth, and Wright.
Romney won a plurality of votes in the following 17 counties: Bremer, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Dallas, Dickinson, Dubuque, Fayette, Fremont, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Muscatine, Plymouth, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, and Story.
Paul won a plurality of votes in the following 17 counties: Adams, Allamakee, Black Hawk, Buena Vista, Cedar, Chickasaw, Clarke, Clayton, Decatur, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Mitchell, Poweshiek, Van Buren, Washington, and Winneshiek.
Perry won a plurality of votes in Union and Taylor Counties.
Santorum and Paul tied in Louisa County. In many counties only a handful of votes separated first place from second place.
Bleeding Heartland covered the final Democratic caucus results here.