As a political science major, I happen to have an innate interest in politics. Therefore, when the caucus came to Iowa, I was pretty dang excited to go. For those who aren’t familiar, I shall try to explain. Basically, a caucus is when each party, Republican and Democrat, gather their members together and look at their party platform, and sometimes vote for who they want to be the presidential nominee. This year, since the Democratic presidential candidate is President Obama, the Democrats didn’t need to vote for a nominee, but they still met to talk about their party. The Republicans also met and voted for a presidential nominee to run against President Obama.
Iowa hosts the first caucus in all of the nation, so there is a lot of media coverage. Iowans get to give the first glimpse of who the candidate might be, and caucuses continue throughout the country during the year until the party decides on one candidate. This was my first caucus ever, since now I am old enough to vote, and it was so much fun! I am from Black Hawk County, and our caucus location was at the University of Northern Iowa UNI-dome, which is an indoor stadium where all the sporting events take place. It was a huge gathering with somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people and two presidential candidates, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, came and spoke. The other candidates were in Des Moines, Iowa because that was where the media was, and since there were interviews after the caucus, they didn’t have to drive back to Des Moines like Michele and Newt.
We met in our Ward and Precinct, so it was all the registered Republicans in our neighborhood. The caucus is not mandatory but people still go because it is exciting. Each candidate had a chance to talk, or someone talked in their place. We nominated people in our precinct for positions to go to the State Convention for the Republican Party, then we voted for whichever candidate we wanted.
I am a big supporter of Rick Santorum, a presidential candidate from Pennsylvania, so I voted for him. My mom and sister did, too, and my dad and brother voted for Mitt Romney. Here is a picture of the ballots! These ballots are actually from my friend Isabel’s family. Two of them voted for Rick Santorum, two for Newt Gingrich, and one for Ron Paul.
After the caucus, we went to McDonalds randomly and got some ice cream. I don’t recommend the egg nog shake, it is kind of strange, but strawberry is always a winner! Then we went home and waited for the results to come in. By 10 p.m. there was about 92% of precincts reporting and there was a super close tie between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Then I went to bed, but the final results came in during the wee hours of the morning and Mitt Romney won by 8 votes! It’s the closest caucus ever!
Now the candidates are off to New Hampshire and South Carolina to continue to campaign for the nomination. It will be an exciting time! I’m so blessed to be able to go back to Iowa and take part in such an exciting tradition. I also got to shake hands with Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann, who is super tiny in person! And also very pretty. She decided to end her presidential campaign as she didn’t do so well in Iowa (she pretty much got last place, if you don’t count John Huntsman, who hardly got any votes), so it was fun to meet her while she was still in the running.
Take care guys! Happy voting!