Caucus Experience

This year was my fourth caucus.  The first time was probably 16 or 20 years ago.  The second time was four years ago, and I got involved in serious party work as a result.  Two years ago I chaired our precinct caucus (after being heavily involved in the planning for the entire county), and had 5 people total attend from our precinct.  This year I assisted John Bloom (former Polk County Republican Chair, and whom I met four years ago at the caucus, and who also writes for The Conservative Reader).  I arrived at 5:30, and helped with setup (including a table for my wife who was representing the Iowa Energy Forum).  I worked with another volunteer manning the Registration table (where people who were not already registered in our precinct as Republicans needed to go to get registered).  I also oversaw the vote tabulation process.

I missed Ralph Reed speaking at our caucus.  Oh well, the price you pay for volunteering!

We had a total of about 200 caucus goers, more than 25% of whom registered at the caucus (I was very happy to see the new crop of high school students getting registered for the first time!).  Everything was crazy for about 30 minutes running up to the start of the meeting, but nothing traumatic.  No big protests, no trouble makers trying to force their way into the event.

Quite a few news crews with cameras.  Including a reporter for an Italian television network.

The speeches all went pretty much as expected, and everyone was very courteous.  I heard that some other meetings around town didn’t go quite as nicely, which is really too bad.

The voting was quick and my tellers and I gathered up the ballots and counted.  With several cameras only two feet away rolling video and stills… I can’t understand why they needed what sounded like 40 or more stills for one camera of us… counting.

Anyhow, I reported the results to the caucus, and about 190 people left immediately.  Including most of the reporters.

We elected central committee members, convention delegates and such.  We only had one platform plank presented which was a solid right-to-life statement.  Also the current platform already speaks to this, the wording addressed the need to be consistent and engaged at all levels on the issue, and clearly states the meaning of life as from conception to natural death.  It passed unanimously, as it should have.

Teardown and cleanup took less than 30 minutes.  We were out of there by 9:00 PM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Surprises:

  1. There were no attempts to derail our caucus by the Occupy movement.
  2. Nobody complained about having to fill out a registration form.
  3. Nobody complained about anything as far as I could tell.
  4. Michelle Bachmann only got 2 votes.  So did “No Preference”.

Not a surprise was the fact that our caucus was not typical of the state-wide numbers.  Romney was far and away the winner in our precinct with 80 votes, with Santorum at 45 and Paul at 36.  Gingrich and Perry had 22 and 12 respectively.  Oh, and Jon Huntsman had 1 vote.

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