The Caucus Notes

I took my laptop to the caucus, and kept some notes. I will try to keep it light, but it was a good evening.

Republicans start their caucus at 7:00 PM. Democrats technically begin at 6:30, and start breaking up into groups at 7:00 PM.

We took a chance and drove to the site (we could have walked, but it was really cold and I didn’t want my wife to freeze), and we were fortunate that there was still space on the blacktop to park. We showed up at about 6:25. The Democrats were still milling in the all purpose room by the main door of the school and getting started. We Republicans had to go to gym down the hall.

Signing in was easy, there were about 30 people already seated, and the line behind us was already 40 feet long.

By 6:50, there’s about 150 people or so in the room. We’ve said “hi” to some people, a reporter from Fox News and his cameraman are getting setup a few feet away.

At 6:55 we get an announcement that the party had expected about 100 people to show up, and they tell us that it appears there will be about 200 (there a bunch of people still signing in) and that we don’t have enough seats. They’re asking for those who think they can stand for 90 minutes or so to give up their seats. Along with the surprise of the big turnout, I’m surprised that over half of the people seated have gotten up. I’m curious about the Democratic turnout… I’ll have to ask one of my neighbors later.

I spend the next 20 minutes chatting with a neighbor from up the street. Speculating on who will win, comparing notes on our choices and reasons for the choices. I’m really surprised at how many people in the room I actually know.

Finally started at 7:15. John Blum is the temporary chairman. We started with the Pledge of Allegiance. That was cool. I don’t get to that very often.

We went through some preliminaries to elect the chairperson of the caucus, and secretary. Pass around an envelope to contribute to the county Republican Party.Now it’s 7:25. Candidate representatives (people from the campaigns who will speak on behalf of the candidates) are now registering with John. I think they are all from the precinct, although such speakers can be from outside the precinct.

First, the speaker for Huckabee. The speaker addresses a few of the last minute Romney shots. I heard Huckabee make the same comments on WHO a couple of hours earlier.

Then McCain’s (the caucus chairperson speaks for McCain).

Then a gentleman whom I recall seeing register as a Republican at the door, speaks for Ron Paul. Standard stump content.

The the speaker for Romney. This speaker seemed to speak from his own thoughts, with high-points of standard campaign content.Then the speaker for Thompson. This was a younger woman (the only woman speaker tonight), who spoke to a number of the points that I and other conservative bloggers have hit in the last few days.

Each of the representatives spoke very well. The audience was very respectful, applauding for each speaker.

7:45: Balloting. We just wrote on pieces of paper, collected from everyone by hand.

The chair then described the next steps for the state process, including the County Platform Draft Meeting in a couple of week, the County Convention (in March), and then the State Conversion in June.  Finally, the National Convention on September 1 in St. Louis.

Next step was identify delegates.  We get 7 delegates to the county convention.  A couple of quick nominations were made (the Chair was one of them).  Then volunteers were requested (essentially, we were nominating ourselves).  No quick reaction, so me being impetuous, I raised my hand.  Eventually, we had 11 nominees.   See my earlier post for the details of the election process we went through.

After the delegate election, and the reporting of the Presidential vote results, about 3/4 of the people went home.  We stayed and went through the platform process.  I was hoping for some discussion, but it was late, and the key was to get our priorities understood.  The party had defined 6 topics (I’m abbreviating the content, partly because I didn’t get them typed in while I way there):

1) The rights of unborn babies.  The statement was essentially to support amendments to the US and Iowa Constitutions granting rights to unborn babies, along with supporting legislation the clarifies the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution as extending to unborn children.

2) The foundation of marriage as between one man and one woman.

3) Support of the Troops and successful completion of the action in Iraq.

4) Improving Immigration Enforcement and completing the double-walled fence along Mexican border.

5) Allowing individuals to invest of Social Security money and restricting Congress from using the money

6) Rights of union members to restrict/control political contributions by the unions and to participate in unions (or benefits of union actions) without having to pay dues.

The activity was to vote on the priority position of each item.  Not surprisingly (since it was where I landed) 3 and 4 were at the top, 5 and 6 at the bottom, and 1 and 2 in the middle.  More or less.

After that, meeting adjourned.  As we walked out, we peeked in on the Dems, and they were evidently still working on their platform.

I truly enjoyed going through this … and I’m looking forward to the County Convention as well.

As I head off to bed, Thompson is ahead of McCain (by a little bit).  Paul is still 3 points behind them both.  And the spin is in full swing.  Ain’t politics a hoot?

About the Author

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.


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