Political Parties at the Crossroads

Professor Edward Newman

Edward Newman, Professor of Social Policy

How should political parties pick nominees for president?

This spring and summer have put both major political parties in the limelight, along with the candidates.

From the moment that Donald Trump appeared to be a serious contender, the Republican Party “regulars” have struggled to prevent his nomination. At the recent Republican convention, key figures (such as ex-presidents) were notably missing. [Read more…]

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul “Concerned” Over Nevada Kosher Caucus

Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational CampusWe recently broke the news about a special caucus being organized in Las Vegas, Nevada after sundown so that observant Jews could participate in Nevada’s Republican Caucus.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, approximately 500 voters — most of whom are Jewish — are expected to attend the event, which will be held at a Jewish day school.

While there had been mixed reporting previously surrounding the campaign’s reactions, the San Francisco Chronicle most recently reported that “officials in the campaigns of both former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Representative Ron Paul are privately expressing concern about the decision” to hold the Saturday night caucus that will enfranchise a large number of observant Jewish Republicans.

Who Actually Won The Iowa Caucus

Iowa Republican Caucuses 2012
Romney 30,015 24.55%
Santorum 30,007 24.54%
Paul 26,219 21.45%
Gingrich 16,251 13.29%
Perry 12,604 10.31%
Romney 30,015 24.55%
Bachmann 6,073 4.97%
Other 1,086 0.89%
Total 122,255 100%

Governor Mitt Romney?

Late Tuesday night I went to bed not knowing who won the 2012 Iowa Caucus. The race between Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was just too close to call.

In the end, results from the final precinct were tracked down putting Romney over the top by eight votes.

About 200 miles from Des Moines, the Republican chair of Clinton County was fast asleep as state officials waited for the final votes in the caucuses. As it turns out, the final votes were needed from the second ward, second precinct, the 2-2 in Clinton County.

With Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney in a dead heat, the votes were crucial from that precinct. So before midnight, the Romney campaign picked up the phone and called Edith Pfeffer to get those numbers. Republican leaders in Des Moines did not have those results, apparently because of some computer trouble.

This has a narrow result. Romney actually had more votes four years ago (30,021 votes or 25.19% of the caucus) when he was defeated by Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) in the 2008 Republican Iowa Caucuses.

Senantor Rick Santorum?

There was a 53-person caucus in Moulton, Iowa, which may have a 20 vote discrepancy. The state won’t certify for another week and a half, and they will look into it. Here’s the info:

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn’t.

“When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I’ve got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa,” True said. “Not Mitt Romney.”True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party’s website, True’s precinct cast 22 votes for Romney.

The state’s response is that Edward True is not an official, and he had no right to go public with this information. However, with the race so tight, this would actually give Santorum a twelve vote lead, and bragging rights going into next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

Congressman Ron Paul?

Business Insider notes that although Ron Paul finished third in the Iowa caucuses, he may end up being the winner anyway.

That’s because Paul’s massive organizational push in Iowa focused on both winning votes, and also on making sure that Paul supporters stuck around after the vote to make sure they were selected as county delegates — the first step towards being elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

The Presidential Preferencee Straw Poll reported on the television is the first event at the caucus. However that is just for show. What matters are the delegates to the Republican National Convention (in August), and those are chosen by the delegates to the five District Conventions (in May) selected at the 99 County Conventions (in March). Each Caucus selects participants to advance and represent the caucus and their candidate at the county level.

Matt from DemConWatch says:

[The] caucuses I saw on TV … were totally deserted by the time the votes were read, meaning that anyone who stayed could have an outsized effect. And the Paul folks did this in 2008 also, so much that the GOP had to cancel the Nevada statewide convention and just award the delegates to McCain.

Ron Paul’s campaign had a better ground game than Romney and Santorum, and they actually read the rule book, they’ll probably end up winning the lion’s share of Iowa’s delegates despite coming in third in the beauty contest.

President Barack Obama?

There was a Democratic Caucus in Iowa, too!

Their caucus was much less contentious than the Republicans.

According to Sue Dvorsky, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party:

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.

Well over 98% of participants voted for Obama (as opposed to “uncommitted” or a number of possible protest candidates), so perhaps with Republicans fighting amongst themselves for the soul of their party, the President can consider himself the winner of the Iowa Caucuses last Tuesday.