Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Caucus 2008

Sara and I attended the Democratic Caucus in Grinnell (Ward 4 at Davis ES) earlier this evening. Here are some observations from the caucus:

  • We arrived at 6:20 to register, 40 minutes before the registration doors closed. We parked a block away from our caucus site, Davis Elementary. The registration line stretched through the cafeteria.

  • I saw my first Chris Dodd for President supporter.

  • Dennis Kucinich supporters outnumbered Dodd supporters.

  • Obama supporters were the first to chant. Hillary Clinton supporters were quick to respond with a chant of their own.

  • An Edwards supporter taped Edwards signs to a broom, to "clean up the mess".

  • Clinton supporters were overwhelmingly female, roughly 10-to-1.

  • Edwards and Obama had more representative supporters, with more balanced numbers of men and women. Obama skewed slightly younger than Edwards, though both had college students.

When the doors closed at 7 p.m., our precinct captain announced that 250 people had registered. Informally, friends who attended the 2004 caucus said this was twice the number at the 2004 caucus. This meant that candidates would need 38 people (15 percent) to be viable. Only three candidates - Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama - initially met viability. Supporters for Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Bill Richardson wooed each other. The three viable candidates also courted the supporters of the unviable candidates. Both Edwards and Obama offered Kucinich supporters a delegate at the county convention in exchange for support of their candidates.

Once people redistributed themselves, Obama won the caucus with 105 supporters (8 delegates), Edwards had 87 supporters (7 delegates), and Clinton had 59 supporters (4 delegates). Edwards and Obama benefitted more from the nonviable candidates than Clinton. After announcing the results, each group chose delegates and alternates for the county convention. A motion to adjourn passed and at 7:44 p.m., we were done.

It was democracy in action, and we participated.

PS: I agreed to serve as a delegate for Edwards at the Poweshiek county convention, March 15 in Malcom, Iowa. I will post more about that later...

PPS: Two websites for results:



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