The Iowa caucuses are the first major electoral event in the campaign for U.S. president. They aren’t officially primaries; instead, they are community events were Iowans gather, hear arguments from the supporters of various candidates, and cast their votes. Delegates are then chosen to go on to district conventions, which then send delegates to the state convention. The state convention picks the actual delegates that will cast votes at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
This year, pre-caucus polls show basically a dead-heat among Rick Perry, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum. The candidates go on to primaries in New Hampshire next week, and South Carolina the week after that. In 2008, 119,000 Iowans participated in the caucus — that’s less than 0.1 percent of the 131 million Americans who voted in the general election. But that small group has a disproportionate say, along with early primary voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina, on who becomes the Republican nominee.
If the race remains up in the air until March, Oregon will host a Republican Debate on March 19th (on OPB). If it’s undecided until late spring, Oregon voters will have their say in the May 15th primary. But if the nominee is decided in the first month or so, will the issues that matter to Oregonians be part of the national debate?
What’s your take on the results of the Iowa primary? Did you see issues that matter to you being debated by the Republican candidates in Iowa?
UPDATE: The votes are tallied, and the three top candidates in the Iowa caucuses are Mitt Romney with 24.6 percent, Rick Santorum with 24.5 percent, and Ron Paul with 21.4 percent
- Jennifer Rubin: Author of the Washington Post‘s conservative “Right Turn” blog
- Jim Moore: Political science professor and director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University
- Rob Kremer: Treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party