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Former Massachusetts Governor Takes Narrow Victory In First Republican Party Vote To Determine Who Will Challenge Barack Obama In November

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hugs his wife Ann at his Iowa Caucus night rally in Des Moines.

Omar karmi

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA // Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney may have won the inaugural contest to determine who will be Barack Obama’s main challenger in this year’s US presidential elections.

Iowa vote

Obama campaign warns of ‘extremist’ Republicans. Read article

But his victory in the Iowa caucuses by the narrowest of margins – eight votes out of 122,255 ballots cast – shows that his Republican Party is anything but certain about what kind of candidate it wants to challenge Mr Obama in November.

Mr Romney may consider himself to have the advantage, and the millionaire businessman will certainly try to paint himself as the only candidate with broad enough appeal to mount a serious challenge to Mr Obama.

Nevertheless, his hair-breadth’s victory mirrors a party that is hardly united in passion behind him. His appeal appears to lie in the cold-blooded perception that the economy would be safe in his hands were he president.

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, who took a surprising second place in Iowa, will continue to appeal to America’s religious conservative voters as the campaigns move to other states. His focus on family values helped him in Iowa where the evangelical Christian vote is a significant bloc.

“In many ways, Iowa is about who has to quit,” Mr Muller said.

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The Iowa Caucuses Are Separated Out For Democrats And Republicans And They Each Do Things Pretty Differently

The process of “caucusing” on both sides takes roughly an hour or so in the evening. 

For the Republicans, the process is generally considered to be simpler. Those in the caucus meetings are called activists, and they gather in groups to make their campaign. This is all in preparation for the final pitch. It can be pretty informal at times with candidates’ names written on pieces of paper, or some opting for a more formal . The votes are counted by chosen representatives and then sent along to Iowa’s GOP headquarters where the final numbers are kept. 

For the Democrats, it’s not that simple. 

First of all, there are no secret ballots for the Democrats and those attending Iowa caucus gatherings will be asked to physically move to a section of the room devoted to their candidate. 

Some end up in uncommitted groups if they can’t make a decision. At this point, groups must have at least 15% of the people that came to that caucus location in their group to remain in the running. This is called being “viable.” 

If a group isn’t considered viable at that point, attendees can either move to a group that is or try to convince others to join them. Once all the low-performing candidates have been weeded out and each group accounts for at least 15% of the room, delegates are awarded.  The more support a candidate has during a caucus, the more delegates they are allocated. 

The Iowa Caucuses Are On: Republicans Say Early Political Trips Reinforce Plans For 2024 Caucus


Mike Pompeo rattled off a list of his accomplishments as Secretary of State under former President Donald Trump, touted his Midwest roots and took nearly an hour of questions from a roomful of eager Iowa Republicans. 

“We put America first, and we got it right,” he told the group of about 100 people who sipped coffee and finished plates of eggs and toast at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale Friday.

It was part of Pompeo’s two-day swing through Iowa to help support the party in a state where Republicans nearly swept the board in the last election cycle and no major candidates have yet announced their intentions for the next one.

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, all eyes are on Iowa. Get updates of all things Iowa politics delivered to your inbox.

The subtext of his visit, however, is not 2022 but 2024.

Pompeo has hinted at a possible run for president, and his early forays into Iowa are yet another data point signaling the Republican presidential shadow primary has already begun.

“I see a lot of cameras in the back. I think there’s going to be some big announcement,” Pompeo joked, alluding to as much. “We’re in Iowa and all.”

Two other potential contenders — GOP Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina — have also announced trips to Iowa next month. Others, like former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, visited the state to help Republicans campaign late last year. 

Iowa Democrats Want To Be Fair To Candidates But Also Have A Clear Winner The Result Is A Mess

The funny or perhaps maddening aspect to all this is that the Iowa caucus results barely matter to the true way Democrats choose their nominee: national convention delegates.

This year, Iowa has 41 of those pledged delegates — about 1 percent of the national total. And since they’re allotted proportionally based on the above results, it’s tough for any candidate to rack up a big lead there.

But the caucuses’ big impact on the race has little to do with delegates anyway. It’s all about the perceptions of the political world. The media, party insiders, donors, activists, the candidates themselves, and even voters elsewhere look at what can be relatively small differences in Iowa results — and come to conclusions about which candidates have “won” or “lost.”

You’ll notice that in our hypothetical precinct results, though, we got three different results for who “won”:

  • For the pre-realignment total, Sanders had the most votes.
  • For the final vote total, Biden had the most.
  • For state delegate equivalents, Sanders and Biden were tied.

Of course, the result didn’t change that much; Biden and Sanders were the top two candidates and are close to each other in all three metrics. But the state delegate equivalent formula means that discrepancies from the vote total may — will — be introduced in each those 1,600-plus precincts. If one candidate ends up being systematically disadvantaged by these discrepancies, a different metric could mean a different “winner.”

Dc Dispatch: Biden Signs Rural Mental Health Bill Republicans Vote Against Jan 6 Commission

Who Won Iowa Republican Caucuses? Watch Ted Cruz, Marco ...

The U.S. Capitol.

Ahead of the July 4th holiday, members of Iowa’s congressional delegation led the passage of a veteran’s mental health bill, visited Iowa in a glimpse of what the 2024 caucus cycle might look like and voted on whether to create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Here’s what you missed in D.C. this week:

Biden signs rural mental health bill named for Iowa veteran

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill to establish new mental health programs for rural veterans. Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat, was the bill’s sponsor. Reps. Ashley Hinson, Randy Feenstra and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, all Republicans, joined her as co-sponsors on the legislation.

The bill is named for Sergeant Brandon Ketchum, an Iowa native and Army veteran who died by suicide in 2016. Ketchum was turned away by the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center when he sought in-patient care.

“Brandon asked for help but was turned away because of a lack of resources,” Axne said in a May speech on the House floor. “We must make sure — in his memory and for the sake of others still serving — that when our soldiers return home, they can get the treatment they need.”

House votes to create select committee on Jan. 6 insurrection

Iowa’s senators attend GOP event in Sioux Center

Grassley also spoke in favor of the 60-vote filibuster rule in the Senate. He argued that the filibuster is the only way to ensure bipartisanship in Washington.

House passes INVEST in America Act

Iowa Caucuses Explained: What They Are Why They Don’t Really Matter And Why We Care Anyway

After months of media hype and TV debates and the ups-and-downs of polling, the long political warmup is over. The race for the presidency will finally get under way Feb. 1 when real voters make real choices in Iowa, the first state on the complicated U.S. election calendar. The Iowa caucuses are quirky, different for each party, and attract international attention. Adrian Morrow and Paul Koring explain what’s going on

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in Fort Dodge, Iowa.


The Iowa Caucuses Are More About Gaining Momentum In The Race Than Predicting A Nominee

Did you know that every president since Jimmy Carter has been in the top three at the Iowa caucuses? Yes, it’s true. Well, save for when Tom Harkin of Iowa ran back in 1992. But, this is all to guide you to my point, that the Iowa caucuses are more of a mechanism to sort of speed the race up. It’s a way to gain momentum, rather than a solid predictor of who is going to be the nominee for each party, and go on to win the presidency. 

Gop Anger At Barack Obama Washington Hillary Clinton Dc Republicans The Establishment

Iowa’s record-setting Democratic turnout in 2008 has been attributed in part to an unpopular president and a party’s frustration at being locked out of the White House for eight years.

Republican George W. Bush’s job approval was just 34 percent at the end of his term. A GOP groundswell is possible now that the tables are turned, and a Democrat with 44 percent approval occupies the White House.

Except for George H. W. Bush, no party has kept the White House three terms in a row since World War I, Goldford noted. Republicans believe that the “two-terms-and-you’re-out dynamic” points to a GOP victory in the general election, he said.

WHERE IN IOWA?:  Track presidential campaign visits across the state

Curl: President Trump First Ever To Win Republican And Democratic Caucuses In Iowa

A perfect storm had rolled in just in time for the state’s first-in-the-nation vote on the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. A newly, apparently untested app meant to ease communication among precinct chiefs during the caucuses failed completely, with the app designers blaming “coding issues.” A failsafe backstop — having precinct chiefs simply phone in the results to the state party headquarters — also failed, with workers being too busy to answer the calls.

The whole mess was a terrible start for Democrats vying to replace President Trump in the White House. Memes immediately exploded across the internet, with one being repeated often: The Democrats want to run the country, but they can’t even hold a caucus in the cornfields.

For the record, the Republicans also held their caucuses in Iowa on Monday. While they garnered little media coverage, Trump blew out his primary rivals, winning more than 97% of the vote over former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, who each came in with about 1% each.

In many ways, Trump won both caucuses. And he knew it. He took to Twitter early to needle Democrats for their pathetic efforts in Iowa.

“The Democrat Party in Iowa really messed up, but the Republican Party did not. I had the largest re-election vote in the history of that great state, by far, beating President Obama’s previous record by a lot. Also, 97% Plus of the vote! Thank you Iowa!” Trump wrote first thing in the morning.

Countdown To Iowa: A Caucus Guide For What To Know About America’s First Vote

Caucuses are only the first stage in key voting states’ selection process and provide a litmus test for which party candidates could fare well in the primaries

Last modified on Wed 26 Feb 2020 18.01 GMT

The Iowa caucuses are a unique political institution that play a crucial role in the American primary process. However, they aren’t particularly intuitive to understand or follow.

What time do the caucuses start?

The caucuses start at 7pm local time on Monday, but campaigns encourage their supporters to show up half an hour early.

How do the caucuses unfold?

Very different rules govern the Democratic and Republican caucuses:

  • Republicans have a relatively straightforward process, in which they cast secret ballots in their precinct caucuses – church halls, school buildings.

Read more

Can unregistered voters take part?

Any Iowan who will be over the age of 18 at the time of the presidential election can participate. Attendees can register on the night at the caucuses and can switch their party affiliation there as well. This means a Democrat can go to the Republican caucuses and vice versa. Four years ago, 121,503 people showed up to the 2012 Republican caucuses. Democrats have traditionally had higher turnout and, in their last competitive caucus in 2008, 239,872 people attended.

What happens then?

A simple guide to the Hawkeye state caucuses.

How are delegates decided?

Where will the candidates be on the night?

Once The Voting Is Over Its Time To Translate Those Results Into Delegates

Delegates, after all, are the point of presidential primaries and caucuses. It’s delegates, not the sheer number of votes, that political parties count to determine who will be their nominee.

After the alignments, the viable candidates will be allocated what’s called “State Delegate Equivalents,” according to their performance at that site.

These delegates, through a process involving Democratic Party math and the state convention, will eventually correlate to the number of national delegates a candidate gets at the national conventions.

The Iowa Democratic Party doesn’t declare a winner, but historically the person with the most SDEs has been considered the winner. However, with the first- and second-round results being reported out this year, it’s conceivable candidates could have more opportunities to spin the results in their favor.

Registered Republican voters show up at their caucus site, hear some speeches and vote for their preferred candidate. The votes are counted and the delegates are elected to the county convention based on the proportion of support a candidate receives.

Despite several state Republican parties canceling their 2020 primaries because an incumbent is running for reelection, Iowa Republicans will hold their caucus on Feb. 3.

The Difference Between A Republican And Democratic 2020 Caucus Experience

IOWA — Precinct locations throughout Siouxland are geared up to open their doors for caucus-goers Monday night.

The process of caucusing can be confusing since it differs so much from a primary vote.

There are many Democratic candidates to choose from, 11 to be exact, and Democratic caucuses different from Republican.

Democrats have an open vote.

For comparison: during the primaries, you simply vote but in the caucus, you have a discussion and then vote.

You physically vote with your body, and you move to certain parts of the room to show which candidate you support.

So, after each campaign makes its pitch, Democrats split up into “preference groups”, which support a specific candidate. But, unless a “preference group” is made up of at least 15% of the people at that caucus, the group isn’t viable.

Those supporters can choose to re-align and support another candidate that’s still “viable” and what some may not know is that undecided could be one of those viable groups

“If a group of undecided people align together and they are above 15%, then yeah, they have to stay with that group of undecided,” said Theresa Weaber-Basye, Co-Chair for Precinct 10. “And they could make their decision further down the road as to where their vote will go.”

While the Democrats have a large ballot of candidates to choose from, it’s different for the Republicans.

Votes are then counted and winner takes all.

To learn more about how a caucus works,

Iowa Is Not The Only State That Conducts Caucuses Instead Of Primaries

Why do we caucus in Minnesota?

Caucuses are different from primaries for a number of reasons. You do not simply show up, check a box, and leave with an “I voted” sticker.

The process can take hours, as voters gather at a venue to hear out supporters of various candidates, debate issues, and ultimately come to a conclusion about which person will make the best presidential nominee. Voters select delegates who will represent them at the party’s annual convention in the summer.

When voters arrive at the venue, which can be anywhere from a high school gymnasium to a restaurant, supporters of certain candidates break off into groups, including groups for undecided voters. Then voters, who are typically activists and very politically engaged, will plead their case to everyone about why their preferred candidate is the best choice.

With a large field of candidates and a diverse spectrum of ideology in the Democratic race, this could take all night. On Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, the process stretched into the next day due to the errors in reporting the results. By Tuesday afternoon, Iowa’s results still hadn’t been released.

Most caucuses have a threshold to earn delegates, meaning that a candidate might need 15% or more of the votes to be awarded delegates. For instance, Ted Cruz earned eight delegates in the 2017 Iowa caucuses, while Donald Trump and Marco Rubio each earned seven, respectively.

The states with caucuses are:

  • Iowa 

The US territories conducting caucuses are:

What Are The Iowa Caucuses And How Do They Work All You Need To Know

The midwestern state is the first to vote in the presidential primary race. So what are caucuses, and how do they work? Here’s your guide to the night

The Iowa caucuses take place on Monday 3 February, kicking off the long process of nominating a Democratic presidential candidate who will eventually take on Donald Trump in November’s US election.

The primary race is made up of a series of contests called primaries and caucuses that take place in all 50 states plus Washington DC and outlying territories, by which the parties select their presidential nominee from the candidates who are running.

The goal in these contests is for candidates is to amass support from voters that translates into a majority of delegates, whose job it is to nominate a presidential candidate at the party conventions in July and August.

When it comes to choosing a presidential candidate, Iowa traditionally goes first. Though Iowa has relatively few delegates, it is highly influential because it gives Americans their first chance to see what support the candidates have, and a win could provide a vital boost in momentum, as it did for Barack Obama in 2008.

Democratic and Republican caucuses will take place on Monday evening, but because Trump does not face any serious competition from his challengers for the nomination, all eyes will be on the Democratic contenders this year.

County District State Convention And National Convention Delegates

Total pledged delegates 41

A total of 11,402 county convention delegates are elected according to the procedure described above across 1,678 precinct caucuses and 87 satellite caucuses. They will then go to their local county convention on March 21, to choose 2,107 district and state delegates who are pledged to support presidential candidates according to the proportional state delegate equivalents result of the caucuses. These elected districts and state delegates will subsequently go to the district conventions on April 25 and state convention on June 13 . In total, 41 pledged national convention delegates are elected for the 2020 Democratic National Convention with their pledged support being determined proportionally to the presidential candidate’s total number of SDEs won statewide and in each of the state’s four congressional districts; but only for those presidential candidates who manage to qualify by winning at least a 15% share of the SDEs statewide or in the specific district. Meaning that all presidential candidates winning less than a 15% share of SDEs statewide and in CD1, CD2, CD3, CD4, will win 0 pledged national convention delegates.

Why Does Such A Small Homogeneous State Get Such An Oversized Role

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status is the end result of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was marred by conflict in the convention hall, and racial and Vietnam War protests and violence in the streets. Party leaders decided to turn away from a top-down process of selecting nominees and instead move toward a voter-driven process that was viewed as more democratic. Iowa had long held caucuses, but the state’s months-long delegate selection process resulted in it being selected to go first. Republicans soon followed suit.

The caucuses have long drawn criticism. They take place at a set time in the evening, so they preclude the participation of some Iowans, such as night shift workers. The new Democratic satellite caucuses are designed to address this.

The number of participants is dismally low. In 2016 — a contest when both the Democratic and Republican nominations were up for grabs — fewer than 358,000 Iowans caucused, less than 16% of those eligible to vote.

To put that number in perspective, more than 8.5 million Californians voted in the two parties’ 2016 presidential primaries, or 47.7% of the state’s registered voters. Iowa caucus supporters argue that it is critical for candidates to be able to make their case to voters in person, and in states that don’t require massive media buys.

Democrats increasingly worried about the prospect of Bernie Sanders winning their nomination are pushing harder to block him, galvanizing his backers in the process.

Presidential Caucuses Are Complicated Why Do Some States Use Them


As the 2020 presidential nomination season kicks off in February, it won’t start with a primary — where voters go to their polling place and cast a secret ballot — but with caucuses. While the vast majority of states hold primary elections, a few use these more complicated events to show their preferences for candidates.

In recent years, some states have ditched caucuses for primaries, but Iowa, Nevada and Wyoming are holdouts. So why choose a caucus?

Party caucuses have been used in various forms in the United States since the 1800s to address a range of political topics. In Iowa’s case, caucuses not only allow activists and voters to make a case for their preferred candidate, but also to talk about issues that could be incorporated into the state party platform, said Dennis Goldford, a political science professor with Drake University in Iowa.

They also attract enthusiastic party members. Caucusing requires passion and a strong connection to a particular candidate, in contrast to the simple and private act of marking a ballot in a primary. “ make candidates and potential candidates talk to voters as real, live, individual human beings,” Goldford said. Candidates meet with voters in a more personal way, he added, rather than using them as “campaign props.” Especially in early caucus states, a relatively small group of people wields a lot of power to influence average voters around the country.

Are The Iowa Caucuses Predictive Of Who Will Win The White House

Maybe. But probably not. Among Democrats, the winner of the caucuses has won the nomination in seven out of the 10 contested races since 1972. But only two candidates — Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama — have gone on to win the White House. Among Republicans, the caucus winner has won the nomination in three of eight contested contests, but only won the White House once: George W. Bush in 2000.

The caucuses definitely have had their moments, allowing candidates to prove theirviability. Among the top examples is Obama in 2008. His ability to win the caucuses — beating John Edwards and Hillary Clinton in an overwhelmingly white state — helped dispel doubts that the United States could elect a black president.

Record Turnout Means Big Numbers For Everyone Not Just Trump

More than 180,000 Republicans caucused Monday night, shattering the 2012 record of 121,503 people. According to entrance polling from The New York Times, 45% of those Republican caucusgoers were participating in the process for the first time.

Many predicted record turnout primarily would benefit Trump, suggesting Trump would inspire people who had not previously been engaged in the political process.

And that held true — to a degree.

Thirty percent of those first-time caucusgoers were supporting Trump. But Rubio and Cruz also benefited, earning 22% and 23% of those voters respectively, effectively stopping Trump from running away with it.

“Even though the Trump people were able to bring some new voters to the polls, they just couldn’t overcome a groundswell of Republicans who now have a good reason to go out and vote,” said Bryan English, Cruz’s state director, noting Cruz’s attractiveness to the GOP base.

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